Here are some resources to help your congregation cope with the coronavirus
Don’t panic, but be wise, informed and prepared. There is a lot of misinformation and confusion on social media and elsewhere about the coronavirus. Help God’s people by getting the facts. Help people understand what’s true and what’s false. Use good information to formulate a congregational response that is prudent, careful and proportional to the risk. Here are some ideas and resources to help:
When Can We Sing – This 13-minute video message from the Moravian Music Foundation talks about the risks to choirs and musicians and explains why singing must be avoided in worship for the foreseeable future.
ELCA: Returning to In-person Worship – This will assist your Covid-19 planning team in formulating procedures and timetables to resume in-person worship.
Pennsylvania Law on Virtual Meetings-Certain conditions must be met in order for nonprofit governing bodies, such as congregation councils and congregational meetings, to meet officially.
ELCA: How to Stream Your Worship Service — A Starter Guide (Updated 3/13/20) – Many congregants should be encouraged to stay away from worship: those who are sick, certainly, and those whose health or age puts them at special risk for COVID-19. Some congregations may decided to cancel worship altogether. How to serve them? Digital technology offers solutions. This ELCA guide can help.
ELCA: Worship in Times of Public Health Concerns (Updated 3/12/20) – Our Churchwide ministry has assembled commonsense advice on how to conduct worship that glorifies God but also minimizes the chances of coronavirus infection to God’s people.
Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus – The Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College has prepared this excellent, insightful guide for congregational leaders leading their congregations in this difficult time.
Timothy Wengert on Eucharistic Practices – One of our church’s eminent Luther scholars (and co-editor of the 2000 Book of Concord), Dr. Wengert gives a historical perspective on the Lord’s Supper in times of crisis.
Pandemic Hope Devotional – Help God’s people through this crisis with prayer and Scripture. This simple devotional provides some faithful steps to work though this crisis. There are daily Bible readings and activities geared for families. For those who may unexpectedly have children at home due to cancelled school, the activities may help keep children and caretakers engaged in healthy activities. From FAITH5.
Preparedness Guide for Houses of Worship – The Centers for Disease Control released this guide to help churches and other community organizations get ready for an outbreak of coronavirus. Put together an emergency plan BEFORE the virus reaches your area. Now that’s smart.
Video: ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton on COVID-19
LSS Bishop James Dunlop’s Pastoral Message on the Coronovirus – “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus said again and again. We are wise to cling to Jesus’ words, but we also remember our special calling to be salt of the earth and light to the world. Amid the coronavirus crisis, let us be smart, well-informed, careful, and proactive to lead our people wisely and responsibly.
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s Pastoral Letter on COVID-19 – When the plague returned to Wittenburg, Germany, in 1527, people didn’t know what to do. Martin Luther responded with his essay, “Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague.” In it, he emphasized the duty to care for the neighbor, the responsibility of government to protect and provide services to its citizens, a caution about recklessness, and the importance of science, medicine and common sense. As the coronavirus emergency unfolds, Luther’s advice speaks to us today.