Safer at Home Order and the WI UM Church - Bishop's Affirmation
Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued a Safer at Home order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, effective at 8 am on Wednesday March 25th. This order will remain in effect until 8 am on Friday, April 24th or until a superseding order is issued. Bishop Jung affirms the following interpretations in light of the Governor's orders.
Bible Study - Stewardship of Presence
This study was prepared by Rev. Dan Dick for a church to use during Lent. During this journey through the COVID 19 virus, it is a good resource for us to use at any time. Dan has offered this to the Conference for us to adapt and use in whatever way we choose.
Minnesota Conference - Bishop's COVID-19 Recommendations
Bishop Bruce R. Ough's message to the Minnesota Conference encouraged members to consider renewing their five-fold membership vow as a template for ministry during this season of disruption and adaptation. When we join a United Methodist congregation, we pledge to participate in its ministries by our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. Here are ways to continue to do that:
- PRAYERS – Initiate a prayer ministry for those infected with the virus, the heroic health care providers, and all those in your congregation and community who are or will be isolated by the social distancing and cessation of large gatherings and businesses.
- PRESENCE – Start conducting online or live-streamed worship, Bible studies, and discipleship classes, and organize regular phone calls or video chats with and among parishioners.
- GIFTS – Institute online giving; the ministry and mission of your congregation and the larger United Methodist connection will go on. We will not stumble or fall; we will not stall or go into a holding pattern. The mission is paramount, and the need for our witness does not wane, but actually increases during a crisis.
- SERVICE – Consider how to promptly, but safely, provide food assistance or other essential services to those on the margins or most vulnerable during this pandemic.
- WITNESS – Let us show our communities and the world that the people called Methodist practice grace upon grace and not fear upon fear. Do not hunker down; get creative in how you go about sharing the faith. The primary way we receive and learn and perpetuate the faith is through relationships. Maintain your relationships with one another. Initiate new relationships – they are a phone call or video chat away. Take care of one another; show Christ’s love. Social distancing is not an excuse for disengagement; it is a call for holy imagination.
Michigan Conference - Children’s Ministry and COVID-19
The news about the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as a coronavirus, and the response to it, has left communities and families wondering what to do next and how to prepare. First, take a deep breath. As faith leaders, we have an opportunity to be a calm, non-anxious presence in the midst of so much unknown. We can speak proactively about the COVID-19, while maintaining a calm spirit and creating or providing ways for people who want to “do” something in meaningful and healthy ways. When considering how does COVID-19 impact our children, families, and children’s ministries, we need to address concerns of children in age appropriate ways, address anxiety and fears of parents, and be proactive about our children’s ministry spaces and leadership. Here you will find recommendations from the CDC, Michigan Conference, NPR, and other sources about ways that you can inform, address concerns, and be proactive.
Worship and Gathering Resources and Ideas
In response to growing concerns about the Coronavirus, the Wisconsin Conference Cabinet has put together the following guidelines and resources for churches. It is important to be both proactive and caring in our preparations and response. We are strongly suggesting that we refrain from publicly open worship services until at least April 5, Palm Sunday. It may mean we need to suspend worship this year through Easter. Read Bishop Jung's letter
Ways to Stay Connected
- If the church leadership decides not to meet for worship services, churches are encouraged to livestream sermons if possible. You can also post connections to other churches who livestream their worship.
- Consider posting or emailing devotionals, prayers or other ways of connecting with parishioners; perhaps covenant to pray together at a designated time each day
- Develop other ways to connect and gather for bible study, pastoral care and even church meetings:
- ZOOM is a free resource that can provide “face-to-face” meeting time for three or more people for up to 40 minutes
- Offer pastoral care via telephone or through email
- Consider ways to reach out in mission to those who are vulnerable in your community
- Five Ways to Be the Church When Church is Canceled
- UMC Support: Livestream Your Ministry (PDF)
- Ask the UMC: How Can We Livestream Worship Legally?
- ResourceUMC: Taking Your Worship Online: A Guide for Beginners and Everyone Else
- Wisconsin Council of Churches: Resources for Streaming Worship
- Michigan Conference: Using Facebook Live (PDF)
- One License Offering Free Licenses through April 15
- Tips for Sensory Rich Live Streaming from Dr. Marcia McFee (video)