COVID-19 Resources for ministry
How are we honoring our present truth?
Our world is currently in the midst of a global pandemic. COVID-19 is the crisis at hand! Worshiping communities – churches – businesses and families have all made amazing sacrifices and adjustments. People of faith long to “return to church,” and children have missed school. Sports, drama, bands and choirs whether they be school related or community based are all on hold. When will life “return to normal?”
Juan Carlos La Puente is on the staff of the Oregon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He asks, “How are we honoring those who have died?” “I hear people say they want to go back to normal. We cannot go back to normal.”
Does your Congregation or Ministry need a COVID Core Team?
Disasters are usually followed by a heroic, “short-term,” response. This, in turn, matures into an “intermediate response” period, and then months or years of long-term recovery. Our observation is that as ‘stay at home’ and ‘social distancing’ guidelines came to faith communities they responded heroically. They figuring out how to worship when they couldn’t gather; how to prevent social distancing from becoming social isolation; and they worked to keep vital ministries on track and alive.
Everyone would like a return to “normal,” but that doesn’t seem to be in our immediate future. Now is the time to deepen your bench, bring in more voices and think together about next steps. That would be the task of a COVID Core Team.
All Roads Lead to Rome
There are many ways to form a “COVID Core Team.” A separate team as descibed above is one model. If your ministry has a committee structure brief, monthly meetings of committee chairs might be another. The goal would simply to be to “stand aside” frr a moment a bring more perspectives to specific COVID related questions at hand. Or, it might be that your current Board or staffing is able to make the unique opportunities and challenges of the COVID challenge part of their regular routine. How to deal with these questions is less important than that you deal with them.
Volatile, uncertain, complex & Ambiguous
The point in consideration of a COVID Core Team is not so much the “team” itself, as the underlying reality of change. This video says it well. More than ever, in the wake of COVID-19, ours is a “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous” world. Our ministry, message and efficacy as people of faith demands that we understand the “new” which is before us. Good, bad or indifferent we are in times of rapid and uncertain change. Such times prove to be glorious for people of faith who understand that “In all things God works for good with those who love him.”
It is not the case, of course, that change – even devastating change – is new to people of faith. In one sense the Bible is nothing more than glimpses of various periods in history where the rhythms of “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous” realities were experienced. With time and perspective we see how God is always active in the chaos. This is our story, our witness and our joy!
Jeremiah is one such voice in one such period of history.
The ELCA Synods of Region 1 have a rich variety of resources to support your ministry in the days of COVID-19. They have worship resources, financial resources, social ministry links, technology suggestions and more. You can find your synod’s resource page under “COVID-19” above.
In addition, we all have a story to tell. Some are medical. Some are personal. Some are financial. Some are spiritual. And some are in video, some printed, others are links to sites you may find helpful. Here is just a sampling of what we have to share. Please help us build this library. Go to the “Contacts Us” page if you have other suggestions to make. Thank you!
ADVANCE PLANNING IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Gretchen Brauer-Rieke, RN, MSN, Advance Planning Facilitator with CodaConversations.com, offers “Advance Planning in the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Importance and Urgency of Considering the Unthinkable.” This 1-hour webinar walks you through three decision points which might be encountered by those who contract this disease. Advance Planning is the art of considering important medical decisions before they arrive, allowing individuals and their families to be prepared in the case of difficult illnesses. This presentation will be of use to individuals and their families, counselors, pastors, priests, rabbis or any who might accompany those faced with difficult choices around treatment of COVID-19.
Working from home with my Special Needs Child
Laura Beville is pastor of Trinity Lutheran and Silverton United Methodist Churches in Silverton, OR. She is also the mother of a special needs child. Being home with you children, trying to do you job while over ZOOM and the telephone with “Stay at Home” certainly has its challenges.
What are your experiences trying to work from home with children? It is difficult, but “You are doing okay!” insists Pr. Laura.