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:
- Communication Toolkit for Community Organizations from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/toolkits/community-organization.html
- “FAQ and Guide to Supporting Vaccine Confidence for Faith and Community Leaders”, from HHS and the Center for Faith-Based & Community Partnerships https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/faq-and-guide-for-faith-and-community-leaders.pdf
- Each state has its own plan vaccine distribution. Contact your state health department for more information on how Houses of Worship can support these efforts.
- HHS is inviting organizations and individuals alike to join the COVID-19 Community Corps to promote and support vaccination efforts. A COVID-19 Community Corps Launch Social Media Toolkit and accompanying graphics are available at https://wecandothis.hhs.gov/resources.
- To locate vaccination sites, visit: Vaccines.gov and vacunas.gov or Text GETVAX (438829) for English or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish to receive three vaccine sites on your phone within seconds.
Clergy resources for crisis and trauma
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Care for Pastors and Chaplains
Care for pastors and chaplains
- Trauma care resources Fall 2020
- Care For Pastors: DHM offers the Well Fed Spirit website
- Five ways to be the church when church is cancelled by Rev. Erin Wathen
- A message from the Canadian Council of Churches
Financial support for pastors
Resources for Ministry
Consoling the grieving – at a distance – the story of how one congregation is responding to those grieving a loved one in this season
- National Benevolent Association offering online SoulCare (archived event recordings)
- Briefing on end-of-life considerations from United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries
- Resources for funerals, death and dying in time of COVID-19 NOTE: links in document are not active (April 7, 2020)(April 24, 2020)
- Disciples Alliance Q offering 8-week program of spiritual practice (April 6, 2020)
- More ideas for connecting with online visitors collected by the Southwest region
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “Taking Care of Your Mental Health in the Face of Uncertainty“
- “HIPAA, Privacy and Care of Church members,” Jonathan Webster, DMin
- Practices for compassionate care and for processing grief from Disciples Home Missions’ Well Fed Spirit site
- Learning more about spiritual care from the Association of Professional Chaplains and the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education – recommended by the Disciples Home Missions’ chaplaincy endorser
- Disciples Men offers podcasts from The Jesus Way
- General worship resources including tips on livestreaming
- Map of online worship services provided by Disciples Home Missions’ Well Fed Spirit website
As we continue to worship with care, there are many ways to bring the world to you congregation.
Global Ministries mission co-workers are available to join you virtually – either live or with pre-recorded presentations:
- to preach in a Sunday service
- to share in gatherings during the week
- to lead a Sunday school classes
Looking for engaging Sunday school ideas? Consider planning four Sundays of live presentations, pre-recorded presentations, or a mixture of both. Have an exciting month of learning about God’s work in the world!
Mission co-workers who have served in places like Kenya, the Dominican Republic, East Timor, and Greece are available.
For questions or to invite someone to share their story, please contact Cathy Nichols.
Other financial info
- To access emergency and short-term financing through Disciples Church Extension Fund contact your DCEF Building and Capital Services Advisor. (April 14, 2020)
- To request a 501(c)3 letter for your congregation, e-mail the name of the congregation, the address and your preferred e-mail to email@example.com
- Disciples Church Extension Fund offers tips on closing a building for an extended period (April 6, 2020)
- Video: Christian Church Foundation clears up differences between Donor Restricted and Board Restricted Permanent Funds (April 3, 1010)
- Recording: Center for Faith and Giving webinar “Stewardship in a Time of Crisis” (March 26, 2020)
- Recording: Center for Faith and Giving webinar for online giving (March 24, 2020)
- Stewardship in trying times by Rev. Thad Allen, regional minister (March 20, 2020)
- Online giving information from the Center for Faith and Giving (March 11, 2020)
- Givelify for mobile donations (March 16, 2020)
The following references are provided for information purposes only. The CC(DOC) does not necessarily endorse the entirety of each organization listed.
CDC Emergency Partners Information Connection (EPIC) webinar, “Psychological First Aid: Addressing Mental Health Distress During Disasters:” (April 27, 2020)
- Prevention: Recommended Preventive Practices and FAQs for Faith-based and Community Leaders (HHS)
- Faith, Community and Mental Health during COVID-19: According to a recent survey released by the American Psychiatric Association, many people have significant anxiety and concerns related to coronavirus. (HHS)
- Additional Resources for Community- and Faith-Based Leaders (CDC)
- FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Liaisons have created a Voluntary Organization System for Engagement (VOISE), which provides updates from FEMA, National Private Not-for-Profit Organizations, and a network of information from around the nation.
- Unemployment benefits finder (U.S)
- USDA Food and Nutrition Service response (SNAP benefits) with links to state by state information (U.S.)
- FEMA Disaster Distress hotline (U.S.)
- Public Health Services of Canada resources
- What if a church runs a childcare center in their congregation? DHM offers info an safety information (March 20, 2020)
- Sanitizing your worship space – a video provided by the Christian Church in the Southwest (March 18, 2020)
- Suggested practices (March 10, 2020)
- Insurance Board Safety Resources (March 12, 2020)
- Week of Compassion’s Guidelines for Congregations (March 6, 2020)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Guidance for Faith Communities | “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), February ” | Hand washing | Information center on COVID-19
- World Health Organization, “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public ” | Q & A on coronaviruses | Myth busters
- “Coronavirus Disease 2019: What You Should Know” Linda G. Manns, RN, MSN, Loudon Avenue Christian Church.
- Faith-based Organizations and Pandemic Preparedness (2007), Scott Santibanez, MD, Catholic Health Association
- Short tutorial (text) for simple live stream of worship (provided by the Nebraska region) | Setting up live streaming (provided by the Christian Church in the Southwest) (March 10, 2020) Copyright advice from Chalice Press (March 12, 2020)
- “A Crisis is a Time for Leadership” from the Center for Faith and Giving (March 12, 2020)
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), “Crises In Your Church: A Guide for Congregational Planning to Handle the Unexpected“