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.

The Information Superhighway reaching speed limit – The Gadgeteer

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.”

Nothing new

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.
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Ministry Resources

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.

Update your Medical Advance Directive for COVID-19 specific concerns. Use this Fillable PDF Form from Compassionate Choices.

Conversation Project
The Conversation Project® is a public engagement initiative with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected. In these days of COVID-19 we may have to face end-of-life decosopm with someone we love. Too many people die in a manner they would not choose,
April 10, 2020
Gretchen Professional
This 1-hour webinar walks you through three decision points which might be encountered by those who contract this disease. It 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.
April 1, 2020
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.

Group of kids playing and creating together

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.

April 25, 2020
MOntana’s Companions in Bolivia–Who is my neighbor?
Covid-19 is reminding us that we are all connected across the globe, for better or for worse. Congregations in the Montana Synod are working hard to find ways to continue to care for our neighbors–through food banks, homeless shelters, children’s programs, distribution of masks. The congregations of the Bolivian Evangelical Lutheran Church, one of our companion synods, are also finding ways to serve their neighbors. But they need help. Bolivia is the poorest country in Latin America, and our churches there are made up of the poorest of the poor. Yet even in their own time of need, they are sharing with their neighbors.
The IELB has contacted the Montana Synod and requested assistance in helping them feed their neighbors and provide other Covid-19-related assistance. If interested in this ministry please contact the Montana Synod office.
gift card
The Oregon Synod's "Pandemic Neighbor-Love Action" program provides relief assistance for those families most affected during the crisis.
April 28, 2020
Church-and-State-web
PPP loan program is designed to keep small businesses, including qualifying non-profit organizations, afloat during mandated Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) related closures.
April 13, 2020
ELCA Article
As the world has grappled with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the ELCA has sought new ways to meet this unique cultural moment, engaging members in worship and faith formation through innovative means.
April 9, 2020