The Upper Room offers 10 Tips for Leading a Small Group on Zoom with advice from Angela D. Schaffner, author of Gather Us In: Leading Transformational Small Groups. Empower congregational leaders to facilitate transformative online and in-person small groups with confidence and hospitality.
In response to the killing of George Floyd, several blogs have highlighted ways congregations can work for systemic change.
Especially poignant have been:
- Rev. Dr. Ronald Bell Jr. implores that we Do Not Look Away!
- Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs of the MN Council of Churches Open Letter to White Clergy, exhorting white clergy to avoid preaching for peace;
- Anahkwud Mihgiizay, Ajiijak Dodem’s (Wendy Stone’s) post on Ways Minnesota’s White Churches Need to Use Their Power and Faith with its specific, concrete ways congregations can work for justice;
- Multifaith Anti-Racism Change & Healing’s (MARCH) Statement;
- African American college student, Lucy Smith’s, conversation with her white clergy mom, Rev. Mary Austin about what white women (and other white people) should be doing right now – and into the future;
- The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival set forth a clear list of Demands on Systemic Racism and Police Violence.
- Minneapolis Interfaith Power & Light’s Statement on the Police Murder of George Floyd, which included the following list of concrete ways to engage in calls for justice:
- Phone a friend. Take ten minutes and
- have a conversation with someone you know about police violence and George Floyd’s murder. Ask what the other person thinks, listen to their responses, and share your own perspective.
- Phone a decision-maker. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman will decide whether or not the officers who killed George Floyd are charged with a crime. Call Attorney Freeman at 612-348-5550 and demand that he press charges against all officers involved with the incident.
- Donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund.
- Support front-line organizations who are leading work on the ground: Black Visions Collective, Reclaim the Block, Minnesota Freedom Fund, CTUL, COPAL, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, NAACP Minneapolis, Voices for Racial Justice
- Read and educate yourself. MPD150 has released a thorough and insightful report asking us to imagine a different relationship to policing as a society. Join in the discussion.
The Ministry Lab has compiled lists of antiracism and combating white supremacy culture resources to share with Adults and Teens/Youth and Children, including lists of additional resources from Illustrated Ministries and others.
Various government and health agencies are offering guidelines for “reopening” buildings and gathering in the same space. They are posted here as they become available:
- Guidance for Gatherings: Faith-based Communities, Places of Worship, and Ceremonies found at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/guidefaith.pdf [as of 06.19.20]
- Guidance for Providing Food and Beverages for on-site consumption at Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings, can be found at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/foodgather.pdf [as of 06.19.20]
- CDC’s Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith [updated 05.23.20]
- Minnesota Employer Preparedness Plan Requirements Checklist for Places of Worship
- World Health Organization Mass Gathering Risk Assessment (Religious Addendum)
- Minnesota’s Department of Health Vehicle Gatherings/Parades Guidance
Each of our judicatories is sharing questions to consider as you reopen doors and return to in-person activities/worship. They are posted here as they become available:
- UCC Conference Minister’s Full Guidance
- ELCA’s Considerations for Returning to In-Person Worship in also available in Spanish
- MN Annual Conference UMC share their Phased Regathering Plan for Churches and suggest additional Re-Opening Considerations
- PCUSA’s Returning to Public Worship Theological and Practical Considerations; Questions for Church Leadership to Consider (from WI Council of Churches); the May 1 Letter from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities which also shared a Values-Based Discussion Guide for PTCA Churches, and The Presbyterian Outlook’s article When do we reopen the church? A pastor considers the questions brought by coronavirus.
- Northwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA letter from Bishop Bill Tesch
- Guidance from the ELCA on Returning to In-Person Worship
Moderator Anna Kendig and Vice-Moderator Jean Emmons of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area share this thoughtful letter. It may be a helpful tool in congregational conversations about “getting back to normal”.
As COVID-19 restrictions ease, congregations will likely find themselves in a both/and reality. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership, offers a number of blogs, podcasts and other accessible resources for moving into the “new normal” with intentionality, resilience and hope.
- Learn how to strategize and get teams in place to support new challenges and opportunities with Get Ready for the New Normal;
- Engage leaders and the whole congregation in decision-making utilizing Key Questions to Consider Before Resuming In-Person Gatherings;
- Invite members to appreciate Why Reopening a Church Is Different to begin discussions around “re-opening”;
- Consider a new leadership stance with five specific practices that will help your congregation in Finding Our New Normal
- Connection is More Important than Content in Digital Gatherings affirms that online ministry must intentionally create space where friendships bloom
- Rethinking Virtual Community shares key learnings from years of observing online worship and community
An important post from Professor Erin Bromage, a Comparative Immunologist and Professor of Biology (specializing in Immunology) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He offers helpful and important science to consider as we move into the potential of gathering for worship in “The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them“.
For tips and important questions about re-opening the church’s building, see Jan Edmiston’s blog Preparing to Reopen Our Churches Again.
The Convergence Online Learning Resource, FaithLead hosts National Faith Leaders Reflect on a Global Pandemic. This Friday’s topic is What Will Happen to Our Churches Spiritually?
How Should Leaders Respond to an External Shock? Focus on core mission and values, says Meredith McNabb of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving. Addressing this crisis with integrity, confidence, and hope requires knowing your congregation and its purpose.
Naomi Paget offers a “prescient book, …developed 10 years ago and …updated in light of the current historical moment,” Ministry during Pandemic: Awareness to Implementation. Free from Judson Press via download.
Lewis Center for Church Leadership (fb) hosts Leading Ideas, a semi-regular blog on current topics, helps in finding resources, and offers online resources at a discount. See their 11 Provocative Thoughts and Questions about What’s Next to jump-start congregational discussions on moving into the “new normal” and see church consultant Mike Bonem‘s Communicating in a Crisis, which highlights the importance of clear, strong communication, emphasizing the need for transparency, hope, and a focus on the mission.
Virginia Theological Seminary’s eform offers a number of brief video introductions on creating online worship, faith formation, safe space, and community.