Fostering Healthy Congregations

One of the most frequently offered pieces of advice throughout our scriptures include some version of, “Be not afraid.” We are convinced that this comment appears so often because God knows us so well. God knows that we are afraid. God is not swayed by our fear, nor is God bothered by our fear. God acknowledges that to be human is to be afraid sometimes, particularly when we encounter things that are new, novel, or uncertain.

We are living in uncertain times, with the spread of COVID-19. It is understandable to feel a bit afraid right now. Let’s use that fear as energy, not panic, motivation to care deeply and carefully for one another and ourselves. This time is offering us opportunities for direct action that reflect our values of love, safety, belonging, and dignity for all in a wide variety of ways.

Below you will find online worship resources, preparedness guides, news from the UCC, information from trusted sources, videos, and more. If you or your congregation have resources and ideas to share, please send them to Aidan Spencer at aidan@ucctcm.org.

Ministers’ Moments: A Space for Authentic Conversation About Ministry

Are you an actively serving authorized minister or lay pastor? On Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon you can join a Zoom call to connect with your Ministerial Staff and fellow clergy. These are public, non-confidential conversations for our active church leaders to check in and hold each other in a peaceful space, ask questions, and pray together in the midst of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. 

Ministers' moments

Thursdays at 12:00pm

(Tuesdays and Thursdays after July 21st)

Resources for Churches and Communities During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

Iowa UCC Churches who Stream Services

Iowa Churches that Stream:

Nebraska UCC Churches who Stream Services

Nebraska Churches that Stream:

South Dakota UCC Churches who Stream Services
General resources for churches and families
Low-Tech Ministry Methods

We sent out a survey to our churches with their ideas and strategies for low-tech worship and gatherings. This document is the result of their suggestions! We will continue to update it, if you have more ideas contact Aidan Spencer at aidan@ucctcm.org.

Other Resources:

The Insurance Board and Pension Boards

Resources from the Insurance Board:

Resources from the Pension Boards:

TELADOC:

All Health Plan participants and their covered dependents have 24/7 access to virtual office consultations with U.S.-licensed physicians through Teladoc. Virtual office visits allow Plan participants to receive general medical care from the comfort of their homes, reducing the risk of exposure to germs and viruses. We encourage any Plan participant with flu-like symptoms to contact Teladoc to discuss symptoms, travel history, and recent contact with anyone who may be infected with the coronavirus.

COVID-19 Testing:

UCC Medical Plan participants (both Non-Medicare and Medicare Supplement) are covered for coronavirus testing at 100% when recommended by a medical professional. This means copays, deductibles, and coinsurance do not apply for this testing. Plan participants can call the Highmark Member Service number on the back of their ID cards (1.866.763.9471)for more information.

UCBMA Emergency Grants

United Church Board for Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA), the philanthropic arm of the Pension Boards, offers Emergency Grants to:

  • current Authorized Ministers in the United Church of Christ;
  • lay employees of a UCC congregation, Association, Conference, or National Setting with a minimum of 10 years of service;
  • surviving spouses/partners of the above; and
  • Members in Discernment for at least a year.

Emergency grants are typically used to pay living or medical expenses arising from unforeseen circumstances that have created financial demands, and may not be used to offset personal loans, taxes, or non-medical related debt. The Grants are funded by the generosity of individuals and congregations to the Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund.

How to apply:

  • If Conference staff become aware of a financial need that fits the above parameters, please contact Rev. Krista Betz, Director of Ministerial Assistance at kbetz@pbucc.org or 212.729.2716. Please provide the following information:
    • confirmation of UCC status as defined above;
    • brief description of what triggered the request for financial assistance; and
    • amount of assistance requested.
  • Conference staff and the Director of Ministerial Assistance together will decide on a response – including the possibility of the Conference also providing financial support if funds are available.
  • If it is determined that financial support is appropriate, a check will be sent directly to the recipient except in the case of assistance to pay UCC Health Plan premiums, which will be applied directly to the invoice.
Music Resources from Amanda Udis-Kessler

Amanda Udis-Kessler is a hymnwriter and composer in Colorado Springs, CO. She is currently serving informally as composer-in-residence at Vista Grande UCC where she is a covenantal partner. She has made available several works that are specifically for virtual worship and also has about 50 scores on her hymn website which are all fully and freely available for use.

“We Are Gathered” – a text specifically about the experience of virtual worship and to be used during a virtual worship service. It is to Nettleton (Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing) so that people who are already familiar with that famous hymn can sing this pretty much immediately.

“History and Mystery”

“Now, As You Leave This Assembly Of Lovers”

“Spirit Gracious Spirit”

“Spirit of Love”

“When Jesus Set His Table”

 

How can my congregation help?

Learn how your congregation can help those in need during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic through the 211 Help Center. Unique pastor sign-up for those in or near SD.