The general ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are working together to support congregations through the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay connected for the most recent news and updates:
Ministries Across Generations continues online opportunities
First Monday, 2:30 pm EST
EXCEPTION: Monday April 12th will be our monthly gathering.)
Join Zoom Meeting, Meeting ID: 987 027 306
Monday, February 1, 2021: LOVEboldly
LOVEboldly exists to empower willing Christians and LGBTQ+ individuals to step towards loving one another more boldly. Faith and Sexuality conversations are not easy. They touch deeply held beliefs, emotions and experiences and often create tension. LOVEboldly seeks reconciliation and healing in the center of that tension.
Heidi Weaver-Smith is the founder and president of LOVEboldly.
Monday, March 1, 2021: FORMA
FORMA is the Network for Christian Formation for the Episcopal Church and beyond.
Melissa Rau is the Director for Partnership and New Initiatives at the Episcopal Church Foundation. She is responsible for managing partnerships and collaborations, including Forma, and discerns and develops strategic solutions for Episcopal faith communities through consulting and coaching. She is especially passionate about leadership and discipleship.
Monday, April 12, 2021: Poor People’s Campaign
Adam Barnes, PhD is the coordinator of the Rights and Religions program at the Kairos Center and has worked at the Poverty Initiative/Kairos Center since 2007.
Rev. A. Kazimir Brown, Repairers of the Breach coordinator.
December 2020 U.S. COVID-19 relief bill information posted
The Church Alliance, of which the Pension Fund is a member, has prepared a Q & A on the recently passed COVID-19 relief bill including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for the U.S. Additional information about other parts of the bill are included in this post. Links are also included for downloadable PDFs and other information.
Considering a EIDL loan? (November 2020)
A goal of Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF) is to keep the congregations we serve aware of the financial relief options available to them. During the coronavirus pandemic, one such resource is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) of which the application deadline is fast approaching.
This federal lending program can benefit churches that have exhausted their working capital or anticipate doing so due to the prolonged challenges presented by COVID-19. EIDL loans are available through the Small Business Administration, but the deadline to apply for one is December 21, 2020.
The dollar amount available through these loans is a factor of your church’s 2019 total annual income and operating expenses and is intended to provide six months of working capital. The interest rate on such loans is 2.75% and payments are amortized over 30 years. The first loan payment is deferred for one year and there are no pre-payment penalties on EIDL loans. However, unlike with the government’s Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP), the EIDL program offers no loan forgiveness. Read more
Clergy resources for crisis and trauma (November 2020)
Naming this pandemic as a trauma–the way we would with a natural disaster or other crisis event–can help provide a framework for understanding and tools for processing our experience. For clergy and church leaders, especially, this work is crucial to healthy and sustainable ministry. Check out the resources available.
From the Insurance Board (October 2020)
We created a COVID-19 training video for ministries to provide guidance as churches re-open and hold in person services. Rev. Hord Owens makes the introduction to the video training, “Re-Opening During COVID-19: Considerations for Church Leadership and Clergy”. We also made a companion video for ministry staff. Heather Kimmel, General Counsel at United Church of Christ, and Dean Rocco, Partner at Wilson Elser law firm, tackle the liability considerations, Rev. Joyce Lieberman, Executive and Stated Clerk of Synod of South Atlantic PC(USA), is also featured with providing input. We partnered with a company that offers online courses so we could use their platform to help church administers assign and track the training, and the platform issues certificate of completion which can potentially reduce liability risk by not only providing education but also documentation that the ministry took part in COVID-19 training.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness information (Aug. 5, 2020)
Blog post of interest: The Coming Pastoral Crash (June 25, 2020)
Re-opening considerations and resources
- NY Times report on virus transmission on surfaces (May 29, 2020)
- Insurance Board guidelines for opening (May 6, 2020)
- Thom Rainer’s thoughts: Your church is now a blank slate (May 1, 2020) link provided by the Northern California/Nevada region
- Small churches and re-opening our doors by Sarah Nave Fisher (April 29, 2020)
- Video: Unitarian pastor Jake Morrill of Oak Ridge, TN, produced this video on how to come back together (April 28, 2020) transcript link provided by the North Carolina region
- Questions to consider provided by the Nebraska region (April 27, 2020)
- Sanitizing congregational spaces provided by the Christian Church in the Southwest region (March 18, 2020)
Congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who are listed in the Yearbook are covered under the denomination’s 501(c)3 non-profit status. Requests for 501(c)3 documentation can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can the denomination provide any support for congregations who have been financially impacted by COVID-19?
There are a variety of ways congregations can access financial support:
To help Disciples congregations minimize the impact of the coronavirus on their ministries, Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF) is offering a unique suite of loan products especially designed to meet borrowing needs during these uncertain times. Call us 1-800-274-1883 or contact your DCEF Building and Capital Services Advisor. Find out how we can help your church stay healthy despite the pandemic through emergency, short-term financing, including for operational purposes.
Many regional ministries are providing some funding for churches in their regions to enhance their technical capabilities. Congregations should contact their regional office for more information.
Is there any financial support for pastors?
The Pension Fund of the Christian Church offers emergency aid for unforeseen medical expenses for pastors through ministerial relief, and offers a disaster relief grant (in partnership with Week of Compassion) for pastors who have been infected with COVID-19 and whose congregations can’t continue to pay them. For more information, contact Matt Rosine at email@example.com or call 866-495-7322.
In addition, Pension Fund provides financial coaching through Your Money Line and Pension Fund dues can be deferred for up to 6 months without members becoming inactive and losing benefits.
What about the offering?
Not meeting in person doesn’t mean people can’t give. The Center for Faith and Giving offers these FAQs about electronic giving, particularly for churches just getting started, as well as these best practices for stewardship in a time of crisis.
What other ministry resources are available?
General Minister and President Terri Hord Owens is live on Facebook on Wednesdays offering prayers for the church and the world. She will continue each Wednesday at noon EST at her Facebook page. (May 4, 2020)
Links to a variety of mental health and trauma resources compiled by Week of Compassion, National Benevolent Association and Disciples Home Missions (April 27, 2020)
Ideas and resources for worshiping virtually can be found here, including tips for livestreaming, music licensing, prayers, and more.
Disciples Home Missions has provided a number of resources for ministry with children, youth, and families.