COVID-192020-04-07T11:55:22-04:00

UPCOMING MEETINGS: Holy Week of April 5, 2020

  • Monday, April 6, 7:00p – Zoom Meeting for Congregational Council Presidents
    • Zoom Recording to be posted
  • Wednesday, April 8, 11:00am – Weekly Zoom Call for All Rostered Ministers

WORSHIP WITH YOUR SYNOD STAFF ONLINE

NC Synod ELCA YouTube Channel – New worship videos provided for each Sunday

Zoom Worship Recordings: View past live worship experiences led by synod staff

ONLINE WORSHIP ACROSS OUR SYNOD

Listing of those gathering around our synod for worship online, etc.

Add your congregation to the list here.

WEBINARS AND HELPFUL HINTS

Guidelines for Virtual Communion:

Considerations for Remote Council and Congregation Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Digital Worship and Sacramental Life in a time of Pandemic by The Lutheran World Federation.

Making Funerals Meaningful in the age of COVID-19 FREE webinar on Friday, April 3, by Hospice of America

Guide for Christian Funerals during COVID-19  by Massachusetts Council of Churches

Getting Started with Church Online: Sharing what we know to help with online worship, Bible studies, and meetings. – register to view recording

Quick & Dirty Intro to Live Streaming Worship – register to view recording led by Christopher Harris

How to Create a YouTube Channel

Public domain hymns

Livestreaming a worship service 

Church Live-Streaming during Crisis

Livestream on Facebook: A Starter Guide by Jason Bendickson 

Best practices for going Live from a Facebook Page

Facebook Premieres – Premieres allow you to schedule and debut videos as Live moments on your Page. After your live broadcast is complete, it will be saved on your Page and viewable later.

Care and Share on Virtual Worship – recorded by SE PA synod

A Liturgy For When We Cannot Meet by UMC Pastor Angela Powell

Easy “Work From Home” Tips

Helping Churches Thrive During COVID-19 – Resource site of ACS Technologies

Ministry Impact Resources from ACS Technologies

Video and Audio Hardware Recommendations for Streaming from SE Iowa synod

REMOTE CONFERENCING

ZOOM RESOURCES

PHONE TREE OPTIONS

FOR YOUR CONGREGATIONAL MEMBERS

Online Giving Assistance: If your congregation does not have online giving, the synod can help. We will send checks to congregations who receive funds through our online giving system. We will cover the credit card fees. Here’s how to make that happen:

  1. Go to our NC Synod website 
  2. Click the Donate button on the top right of your screen.
  3. Enter the amount you would like to give.
  4. Select a fund – “Where needed most”
  5. In the Optional Memo – put the name of your congregation and city. (You have 23 characters. Abiding Presence, Fuquay-Varina won’t fit. Try AP, Fuquay. Be creative but PLEASE include the city and at least an abbreviation of the church name. We can’t send checks if we do not know.)
  6. Include your email address and then click continue.
  7. If you are a rostered minister, the system may recognize you. Click continue.
  8. The system is set to a frequency of one time. You can change that to once a week, etc. Pick a date to make your donation.
  9. Fill out your credit card information and click Give.
  10. Your congregation will receive a check each month with the amount given online through this portal.

Small Business LoansApply here.

SBA FAQs related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for faith-based organizations

CARES Act FAQs answered by ELCA Attorney Tom Cunniff:

  1. Are churches eligible?  Yes. There is some misinformation out there and some lenders are confused, but churches are eligible.
  2. What is the application period for the Paycheck Protection Plan loans/grants?  It opens tomorrow, April 3.  There is no close date we are aware of, but because the pool of money is limited, applicants should start soon.
  3. If you take the loan/grant, do you have to submit to an audit to get forgiveness?  Not likely.  You will have to document through payroll records, canceled checks, etc., that you spent the money as allowed, but that is a far cry from an audit.  The SBA’s ability to audit individual claims is going to be severely limited.
  4. Who is the owner of the congregation/synod?  NO ONE.  The space on the application for ownership of 20% or more of the entity does not apply and should be left blank. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do NOT say that the synod or the ELCA owns a congregation, or that the ELCA owns a synod. IT IS NOT TRUE. Also, if we are improperly lumped together, it will put us over 500 employees and no one will get it.
  5. Do we share common management or ownership (question 3 on the application)?  NO.
  6. Do we need a congregational meeting to approve borrowing money?  Maybe. One option is to hold a remote meeting; our remote meeting guide is up on the ELCA public health page [and has also been copied to NC Synod COVID-19 Resource page under Online Giving/Meetings]. If timing is an issue, the congregation can start the application process and ratify when they can hold a remote meeting. Another option is to treat it as a grant application (assuming the congregation is going to comply with the rules for forgiveness) so a meeting is not necessary. If no meeting is held now, we strongly recommend having a meeting when the congregation can to ratify the action.

Summary of CARES Act Provisions by Church Alliance

The CARES Act: A Helpful Description by Horizons Stewardship

Families_First_Coronavirus_Response_Act  – United Church of Christ memo

Mission Investment Fund letter to customers

Federal Tax deadline extended until July 15 with no penalty or interest. NC tax deadline extended until July 15 with no penalty BUT with interest.

Preferred ELCA vendors

Facebook – social good – Nonprofits using Facebook’s payment platform to process donations pay no fee – 100% of the donations go to the charity.

10 ideas for church financial leaders amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Response to COVID-19 from ELCA presiding bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Update and Resources on COVID-19 Related Benefits from March 30, 2020

NC Unemployment Insurance Information: Changes Due to COVID-19

Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits: Q&A

FAQ on Paycheck Protection Program Loans – updated April 6, 2020

LIVING GENEROUSLY

Key ways to Keep Stewardship Strong in Uncertain Times by Pastor Mike Ward.

IDEAS FROM OTHER ROSTERED MINISTERS

  • Consider setting a common prayer time, so folks know they are praying together even if they can’t gather in person.
  • Divide up your church membership contact list among other leaders and call everyone to check in.
  • Identify folks who need support re: grocery & supplies. Encourage sharing of supplies.
  • Send cards to those who are isolated.
  • Send notes of thanks and care to people, especially workers on the front lines and local care facilities like nursing homes and hospitals.

RESOURCES

Children, Youth & Family Resources

IDEAS FOR CONNECTING from Youth Ministry Staff

  • Pandemic Hope – A Family Devotional for Life during COVID-19
  • We’re using zoom for check ins. We might play a game like Scattegories that we can play where we are.
  • Assign everyone a partner to send a card in the mail. Bonus point if they make the card themselves.
  • Work online together to build the perfect distancing play list.
  • Virtual scavenger hunt. Give kids a category and then 3 minutes to find the most creative item in their house that fits the criteria. Everyone send/post a photo of it.
  • Our youth ministry staff are connecting with youth on Instagram live every day at 2 p.m. Also planning a virtual “youth group” with worship, Bible study, and activities on Mondays using Zoom.

ADULT FAITH FORMATION

We pray…
Forming God, you call us to a place where we feel so ill-equipped to lead.
Give us the voice that Moses didn’t know he had.
Give us friends like the paralytic that make us see Jesus regardless of the chaos.
Give us time away like Jesus to stop, pray, and recenter our worlds that are spinning far too fast. 
Remind us God, that we don’t have to fix this and we can’t. Help us remember that your love and grace are never changing even when our reality changes daily. 
Guide us, walk with us, sustain us in all that we do. Etch upon our hearts to be still and know that you are God. 
In Christ we pray. AmenDeacon Tammy Jones West

SYNOD STAFF RESPONSE

Knowing that God is calling us to walk alongside one another, here are opportunities for walking together as the NC Synod this coming week: 

  • Online Service of the Word available on our website for anyone to join. We anticipate providing this for the next several weeks. This week Bishop Smith will be preaching. 
  • Prayer texts – Bishop’s staff members will be sharing prayers with you via text each day. May it be a reminder of God’s presence, our partnership, and your call to lead in this time. Email tjwest@nclutheran.org to sign up. 
  • Next week and in the weeks ahead, you will continue to receive communication from the Bishop, the bishop’s staff, and synod council with updates and decisions affecting the ways we journey together.

LEADING IN CRISIS

PORTICO BENEFITS

Just a few benefits that can meaningfully help ELCA-Primary health plan members toward greater well-being.

• Being – is a holistic, faith-based, educational platform offering expert-led videos on a wide range of well-being skills – such as longevity, purpose, resiliency, and more.
• Learn to Live – is a self-directed online mental health support program designed to help manage stress, depressions, social anxiety, insomnia, and substance us.
• 98point6 – a service that delivers 24/7, text-based primary care services with U.S. based, board-certified doctors. Receive on-demand consultation, diagnosis, and a treatment plan. Doctors can also prescribe medication (except controlled substances) and order lab tests. Visits are $0 for members with Platinum+ or Gold+ options; $5 copay for Silver+ and Bronze+ options.
• Doctor On Demand – provides on-demand, online appointments with board-certified physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists. You can see a therapist through Doctor on Demand for stress, anxiety, relationship issues, depression, changes in mood, alcohol and tobacco addictions, and eating disorders.

A concern was raised about Telemedicine services for mental health conditions:
Given current guidance and standards, the ELCA-Primary benefits plan will now cover medical and mental health telehealth/virtual visits the same as any visit in a clinic or brick and mortar location (subject to our current health plan deductible limits and eligible providers). This will provide consist care for our rostered ministers and leaders who have established, relationships with primary care givers.

Find out more on the Portico website.

DEVOTIONS

FOR THE LEAST OF THESE

From NC Synod Bishop Tim Smith

“The Flowers”
The rain to the wind said, “You push and I’ll pelt.”
They so smote the garden that the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged, though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.
–Robert Frost

We’ve all experienced those overwhelming spring thundershowers during which we quickly dash inside, only to return to lament the devastation to our lovely yet fragile tulips, daffodils, lilies, etc. Our hearts visit the surface of that grieving well within our souls that holds the accumulation of all the precious ones and things lost to us. So delicate, so helpless, so beautiful. (more…)

From ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Title image by Vektor Kunst from Pixabay