Congregational Life

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:

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: needing to sustain an enhanced digital presence as they resume “normal” patterns of gathering. Now is the time to strategize and put teams in place to support the challenges and opportunities of this new normal. Get Ready for the New Normal, from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, offers suggestions. Their Key Questions to Consider Before Resuming In-Person Gatherings is offered to help congregations make the transition back to in-person gatherings.

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.

Thanks to the MN Conference UMC for posting these helpful links for safety and best practices: Faith community guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health