In response to the spread of COVID 19, how do we as humans participate and experience life in relationship to one another as global citizens, family members, and people of faith? The questions, conversations, and decisions are complex with all of it changing every hour. Provided here are responses from trusted leaders in our faith communities and friends of HomeGrown Faith. Each provides a valuable resource for Connecting Home, School and Congregation. This is an opportunity to truly “be” the church as we reach out and care for one another.
HOUSEHOLD CONVERSATIONS ABOUT GENEROSITY & FINANCES for a time such as this
LIVE IT OUT! provides six at home activities and conversation starters centered on household stewardship and God’s generosity. TGP LiveItOut!
REDUCING FEAR & ANXIETY IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC
Building Faith: Coronavirus, Anxiety, Children and the Church The trusted Building Faith website and resources, based at Virginia Theological Seminary, give us words and approaches to talk with our children.
NPR Kids printable Comic Book explaining Coronavirus.
Helping Children with Scary News by Sally Lloyd Jones, author of my all time favorite, The Jesus Storybook Bible (for ages 3 and up!)
Thank you to Catherine Anderson, Coordinator of Youth Ministry NEMN Synod, for curating resources helpful for parents, adults, youth as they deal with Anxiety and Fear between news reports and disrupted schedules.
Search Institute, How to continue to support our youth and build relational assets.
FAITH & WORSHIP AT HOME RESOURCES
Cartoonist Guide to the Bible Impressive, colorful, innovative and easy to use collection of illustrations, cartoons, video sermons on every aspect of the Bible. For teens and older – anyone who wants to have fun diving deeper into the Bible. Life’s work of ELCA pastor with PhD in leadership from Luth Sem.
A superb list of resources gifted to us by the Children’s Spirituality network. One can even hear Sally Lloyd Jones (The Jesus Storybook author) read some of her favorites to us.
Comprehensive resources and responses from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Ministries. Support and virtual resources for children and youth who are home, including platforms for daily online gatherings. Suggestions of best ways to serve the many who are put in difficult situations as the pandemic closes affordable child-care.
Going for Growth – WOW! A plethora of faith based activities for in-the-home, from the Church of England.
Illustrated Ministries easy to use, downloadable faith formation resources for all ages, now available free.
Keeping Faith At Home with Children Sharon Ely Pearson, a curated list of excellent resources that includes podcasts, downloadable faith activities and more…(includes links to Faith5 and Godly Play.) Do Not Fear offers prayers and daily devotions for such a time as this.
Milestones Ministry has created a Coronavirus Milestone Moment free download and videos for using Taking Faith Home resources.
Taking Worship Home Pastor Breen Sipes, Tri-Saints Lutheran Parish, has long created online resources for for the three rural parishes at “the end of the earth” in rural NE. Written to fit the lectionary for each week’s readings.
Worshiping with Children creator, Carolyn Brown, offers suggestions for “Playing Church at Home.” This is my trusted go-to site for children’s sermon ideas that follow the lectionary as well as themes throughout the church year.
CONGREGATIONS WITH SCHOOLS
A letter from Dr. John Selbillia, former Executive Director of Lutheran Disaster Response of NY at Ground Zero, and former ELCA National Director for Schools. Wise words and suggestions based on experience in times of crisis. Also check out the great resources for interacting with our children at home provide by ELEA Lutheran Schools and Centers educators.
FAITH & WORSHIP OUTDOORS!
The Wild Church Network reconnects people with an untamed God in our wilderness homes- a network of rostered leaders and lay across denominations and faiths who consider church more than a building. In this time of need for physical separation, check out those meeting regularly outdoors, including several ELCA congregations.
CREATING COMMUNITY with APPS
An exchange on Facebook by experienced youth ministers offered various suggestions for creating community and ongoing communication throughout the week, especially for those primarily using smart phones and apps: BAND, Discord, Google Hangout, Group Me, Marco Polo, Slack, Team Reach is made for sports groups but works well with any group, and WhatsApp. ZingApps was used for the recent national ELEA Conference – it is meant for connecting with parents and kids and is very easy to use!
e-CHURCH (Live streaming, cyber tools, use of internet)
Augsburg Fortress Augsburg Fortress is temporarily expanding permission for all ELCA and ELCIC congregations and worshiping communities to include Augsburg Fortress administered liturgical text and liturgical music copyrights in a livestream or podcast. From March 15 through May 31, 2020.
e-learning, a ministry of Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal), forming and equipping leaders for digital ministry. Maybe this is just the “push” you needed to learn how to take your ministry outside the walls of your church!
One License offers gratis license options valid through April 15, 2020. A ONE LICENSE grants churches, schools, religious communities, retreat centers, and worshiping bodies permission to Reprint or Project music for their congregations from any their Member Publishers as well as permission to Podcast or Stream religious services that contain music from Member Publishers.
Online Church is a newly created facebook page with up-to-date helps and webinars on how to get started in hosting “church online.” Created by Practical Church Resources, known for their ongoing webinars.
The LARGER PICTURE
Center for Disease Control –CDC the go-to trusted source for updated news related to COVID-19
ELCA’s Public Health and your own denomination’s guide for worshiping communities.
Faith & Leadership, Resources for Church Leaders During the Coronavirus Pandemic, includes excellent information and links, including guidance from UMC related to church and finances and suggestion for setting up a coronavirus assistance fund to help members during this crisis.
Resisting the Pandemic of Prejudice – Reclaiming the Power of Relationships Eugene Roelkepartain, PhD, Vice President of Research and Development at Search Institute lifts up how the pandemic is contributing to hate crimes, violence and discrimination and what we can do about it.
Thank you to each and every one of you for your nimbleness, adaptive leadership, creativity in connecting and caring for all ages and generations in your congregations as well as your own household. In this time of anxiety, may we continue to follow advice to care for one’s self, our household, and our neighbor. Maybe Martin Luther’s reflections on the plague in 1527 can guide us.