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.
UMCRM - Virtual Day Camp
At United Methodist Camps, our campers are always at the heart of what we do. We know that recent events have caused significant change in the lives of campers everywhere and we are here to support in the best way we know how. We would like to present Virtual Day Camp, the next best thing to being at camp! Each day, campers can log in and follow a day camp session, exploring topics such as Spiritual Development, Nature Exploration, STEM, Music, Art, Social/Emotional Learning, Exercise, and more.
Discipleship Ministries - Resources for Responding to COVID-19 Outbreak
The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of daily life for people across the globe. Local churches are attempting to respond in appropriate ways, but many congregations have questions. Discipleship Ministries is regularly adding new resources to assist your church as it seeks answers about this new reality.
On this E-Resources page, General Board of Higher Education & Ministry offers live online training opportunities, recorded webinars, downloadable ministry resources, videos, answers to frequently asked questions and more.
ResourceUMC - COVID-19: Ways to Respond
The Rev. Jeremy Smith shares suggestions and insights for how churches can continue to offer worship, fellowship and hope in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
See All the People - Things WE Can Do
Chuck Knows Church is teaming up with #SeeAllThePeople to share a few simple ideas that your church can do to help your community during this time of crisis.
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
The Upper Room - Resources for Spiritual Wellness in Anxious Times
How do we open our hearts while our borders, schools, and stores close in efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus? How do we stay centered in the midst of fears, grief, and stress? Here are some free resources from The Upper Room to help you keep—or create—spiritual wellness and wholeness in the midst of anxiety and stress.
Wespath - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
This page provides links to all of Wespath's COVID-19/Coronavirus materials including a letter from the Chairperson of Wespath's Board of Directors and the General Secretary to participants, updates and a video from Wespath's Chief Investment Officer, retirement FAQs, health resources, congregational health information and links to important websites.
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.
Blog post by Beth Estock
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)
Offering and Finance Resources
For churches that currently don’t have electronic donation capability and would like to offer this as an option to their members during this period of unrest and potential church closings, the Conference will offer the use of our VANCO online giving site and absorb the processing fees for the next 2 months. On our main home page, where there was a DONATE NOW button, there is now a DONATE TO YOUR LOCAL CHURCH. If you would like to have your church listed as an option, please contact TreasurerOffice@wisconsinumc.org or call 608-873-7320. Provide your church name as your members would know it and your GCNO (General Church Number). Your donors/members may pay from their bank account or a credit card. The Finance office will send the donations to your church within 2-3 weeks, with the donor identified.
- Discipleship Ministries: 10 Ideas for Church Financial Leaders Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
- GCFA: Everything You Need to Know About eGiving
- GCFA: Creative Funding Ideas to Recoup Losses
Public Resources and Guidelines
State Guidelines and Latest Updates
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Outbreaks in Wisconsin
- Track current Wisconsin investigation details.
- Updates will be posted by 2 p.m. on weekdays.
- From Governor Evers: