Shared Worship

Thanks to the congregations sharing their recorded worship with the whole synod. Worship is shared this week, October 18, by St. Luke’s, Charlotte. Watch via Facebook for the premiere on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.

To listen to Worship anytime, call toll-free: 833-924-1988

  • Press 1 to hear the full worship.
  • Press 2 to hear the sermon.
  • Press 3 to hear the prayers.


  • Worship provided by an NC Synod congregation via Facebook each week
  • Recorded sermon offered by Synod Staff each week for inclusion in your congregation’s recorded worship


Listing of those gathering around our synod for worship online, etc.
Add your congregation to the list here.


Guidelines for Virtual Communion:

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

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

Tech Soup – NC synod partnership to access the best technology options at the most affordable cost









Approved by Synod Council, September 11, 2020

Grounded in our vision and core values, the North Carolina Synod Council makes the following recommendations for the congregations of the NC Synod:

  1. We recommend refraining from in-person gatherings of more than 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors until the NC governor moves us into Phase Three.
  2. We recommend children or youth events of no more than 25 people,outdoors, physically-distanced, and with face coverings.
  3. We recommend developing in-person gathering protocols and an implementation plan in writing prior to gathering, especially around distribution of communion.
  4. We recommend beginning to celebrate Holy Communion with appropriate protocols, following the physically-distanced 25 indoors and 50 outdoor recommendations of Phase 2.5.
  5. We continue to recommend no singing or chanting.
  6. We continue to recommend no fellowship meals, coffee hours, or other such events that make physical distancing difficult.

View the full 9/11/20 Re-Gathering Recommendations here.

Review the 5/30/20 Re-Gathering document here.



Stronger Church Action Against COVID-19: A Letter to ELCA Bishops from Dr. Erica Bjornstad, Chair of SE Synod’s Re-Gathering Task Force

Dear Bishops and leaders of the ELCA,

As a member of an ELCA congregation, I am heartened by the ELCA’s stand and willingness to forgo in person church services to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I am an epidemiologist and physician in Birmingham, AL and see every day the toll this disease is taking on our  communities. Unfortunately discussion of COVID is declining and we are all tired. I want to urge all of you to redouble your efforts to protect our communities in these difficult times. We are on the verge of what could be a catastrophic fall/winter if we do not act. I have included additional details in the attached letter. Please do not hesitate to reach out if there are questions I can answer or you wish to discuss the data further.


Erica Bjornstad, MD, PhD, MPH

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Recommended Preventative Practices & FAQs for Faith-based and Community Leaders – US Dept. of Health & Human Services

11 Provocative Thoughts and Questions about What’s Next – by Bill Wilson

NCDHHS Interim Guidance for Places of Worship and Religious Services – Sept 22, 2020 Update

10 Actions for Faith Leaders to Respond to COVID-19

Faith Leader Talking Points

Re-Gathering Checklist for Churches  by the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services

Re-Gathering Checklist  by Smart Church Solutions

Recommendations for a Safe Return to Worship PDF by Church Mutual

Safely Returning to Worship: Webinar by Church Mutual

Safely Returning to Worship: Article by Church Mutual + Sample COVID-19 Waiver

Best Practices for Safe Ministry Gatherings – video of conversation hosted by SW PA Synod

Ecumenical Protocols for In Person Worship – shared by ELCA Worship


Effective Communication After a Crisis by Brotherhood Mutual

Six Elements of a Crisis Communication Plan by Cassling Community Healthcare


Congregations have graciously shared their drafts as they plan to gather in person for worship. These might provide a starting point for your work in this area.


ELEA Re-Opening Guidance

NC Synod Webinar with Cory Newman, Executive Director of ELEA – 7/22/20


Child Development Centers have graciously shared their drafts as they plan to re-open. These might provide a starting point for your work in this area.


Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.—Weekly Zoom Call for All Rostered Ministers

  • Rostered ministers should check their Monday email from the bishop for each week’s Zoom invitation.

Congregational Council President Course – Meets on Sundays, November 1, 8, 15, 22 from 7:00 – 8:30pm

Find Recorded Zoom Meetings Here


FAQ NC Synod Congregational Meetings, Fall 2020

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

Easy “Work From Home” Setup Tips – a video tutorial

Tech Soup – NC synod partnership to access the best technology options at the most affordable cost

HR Matters: Best Practices for Managing during Quarantine – a video resource

Free 45 minute legal consultation for nonprofits from NC Pro Bono Resource Center




NC Synod Launches Relief Fund  Read more about the synod’s COVID-19 Relief Fund launched on April 13, 2020.

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

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

NC Unemployment Insurance Information: Changes Due to COVID-19

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.


The ELCA Credit Union can be a Paycheck Protection Program resource for your congregation or ministry. Visit the special Paycheck Protection Program page on the Credit Union’s website.

APPLY HERE for Small Business Loans

  • SBA FAQs related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for faith-based organizations
  • Find Eligible Lenders tool from – Use this tool to find a nearby lender eligible to issue a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

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 opened April 3, 2020. 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

ELCA FAQ on Paycheck Protection Program Loans – updated May 1, 2020

Nonprofit PPP Loan Forgiveness – How does it work? – Inside Charity


Comparison of some popular online giving platforms for churches

Preferred ELCA vendors for online giving

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


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

Financial giving in a time of crisis – an ELCA resource



  • 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.





NEW: NC Synod Confirmation Classes held monthly October 2020 – February 2021!




  • Tips for Responding to Hunger in a Pandemic – an ELCA resource
  • Best Practices for Food and Housing Ministries – an Episcopal Diocese of NC resource
  • NC Free Food Sites for Children (English) – Families who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. The texting service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877. After entering their address, families will receive a text with the location and serving times for nearby pick-up and drive-thru meal sites while schools are closed. Sites have been set up across the state with school and community partners.
  • NC Free Food Sites for Children (Spanish) – Las familias que necesitan ayuda para encontrar comidas para sus hijos hasta los 18 años pueden enviar un mensaje de texto a COMIDA al 877-877 para ubicar los sitios de comida gratis cercanos a usted. Después de ingresar su dirección, las familias recibirán un mensaje de texto con la ubicación y las horas de servicio para los lugares de comida cercanos para recoger la comida desde su auto, mientras las escuelas están cerradas. Se han establecido sitios de comida en todo el estado en escuelas y organizaciones de la comunidad.
  • COVID-19: Recommended Preventative Practices and FAQs for Faith-based and Community Leader – CDC
  • NC Inclusive Disaster Recovery (NCIDR) network’s living document – resources and engagement opportunities for organizations serving historically under-resourced and marginalized communities
  • Online Recovery Meetings
  • Resources for Abuse Victims Amid COVID-19:
    • Many members of our congregations are sheltering-in-place or isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendation of increased social distancing from the public will bring increased stress levels in many homes along with less access to helpful resources. As the coronavirus spreads, the message has been clear: home is the safest place to be. And, yet for victims of intimate partner violence and child abuse, nothing could be further from the truth. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has already reported getting calls from victims whose abusers are using the coronavirus as another excuse to isolate and harm family members. Support and services can be found below:
  • Useful Resources for Children and Families During the COVID-19 Crisis – Children’s Defense Fund
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


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

  • Worship Options (check Online Worship toggle for details):
    • The synod is offering recording worship share by various congregations across the synod through September. If you’re able to take a day off, your congregation could use this shared video for Sunday worship.
    • The synod staff are offering video sermons for your use through September, as well.
  • Weekly prayer texts: Bishop’s staff members will be sharing prayers with you via text each week. May it be a reminder of God’s presence, our partnership, and your call to lead in this time. Email to sign up. 
  • Weekly communications are sent to all rostered ministers on Mondays from the bishop, the bishop’s staff, and synod council with updates and decisions affecting the ways we journey together. Email if you are not receiving Monday emails.
  • Weekly Zoom calls with rostered ministers and bishop’s staff take place each Wednesday at 11 a.m. Stay tuned to the Monday email for login information. Some previously-recorded calls can be found on the Congregational Council page.



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 consistent care for our rostered ministers and leaders who have established, relationships with primary caregivers.

Find out more on the Portico website.

Portico COVID-19 Support – Updates 4.15.20


Collage images include (clockwise from top): Holy Trinity, Hickory, holds drive-in worship; Prince of Peace, Greensboro, Justin Willoughby leads during parking lot worship; Deacon Wendy Roberts and her daughter, Lauren, offer video devotions for Morning Star, Matthews; Two women of Good Shepherd, Goldsboro, serve at local nonprofit, Laundry Love; Members of Epiphany, Winston-Salem, gather for coffee hour fellowship; title image by Vektor Kunst from Pixabay