Weekly Response to COVID 19
Connecting ABCOTS during COVID 19
Join Weekly Zoom calls with ABCOTS Executive Minister Dr. Harrison
Tuesdays at 11 AM EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 929 6541 9729
Updated Zoom calls guest list
Sept 15 Rev Maggie Lewis/Dr. Willard Ashley (Center for Career Development
Sept 22 Dr. Eddie Cruz, Dr. Christine Roush
Oct 20 Rev Maggie Lewis/Dr. Willard Ashley (Center for Career Development and Ministry) Addressing Mental Health Concerns
Oct 27 Dr. Eddie Cruz, Dr. Christine Roush
Nov 3 VOTE! No Discussion
Zoom call Sept 8 - Conversations with Dr. J. Dwight Stinnett, former Exec Min Great Rivers Region
Zoom call Sept 1 - Conversations with Dr. E. Jeff Woods, Interim General Secretary
August 25 zoom call - Dr. Eddie Cruz, Dr. Christine Rousch and Dr. Marvin McMickle.
August 18 - Rev. Maggie Lewis/Dr. Willard Ashley (Center for Career Development & Ministry) - Addressing Mental Health Concerns.
August 11th Zoom call: Function of ABC-USA and the origination of ABCOTS
August 4 Zoom call - Rev. Donald Porter, Handling grief and Grief Counseling during the pandemic.
July 28 - Dr. Patricia Murphy, Ecclesiastical Endorser, National Coordinator for Chaplaincy, Pastoral Counselors and Specialized Ministries.
July 21 - Zoom call with Rev. Maggie Lewis and Dr. Willard Ashley addressing Mental Health issues.
ABC-USA COVID-19 UPDATES
American Baptist Churches USA Survey Assesses Impact of COVID-19
In May of 2020, a survey regarding the impact of the global pandemic was sent to all of the American Baptist regions via each region’s executive minister. On behalf of local churches, the person most knowledgeable was asked to complete the survey. Originally requested by the members of the National Executive Council and Regional Executive Ministers Council, the survey of American Baptist congregations was aimed at assessing the impact of COVID-19.
A total of 414 congregations responded to the survey. A summary of the quantitative results is shown below. The survey results summary looks at the overall impact of COVID-19, the impact of COVID-19 on worship and ministry, future outlook related to COVID-19, and areas impacted by the virus.
Overall Impact of COVID-19
The survey indicated that a slight majority of the congregations surveyed are experiencing only a slight or moderate impact from COVID-19, while a small percentage of ABC congregations have been hit very hard by the pandemic. The majority (63%) of respondents believe that they are in an area with fewer cases than the rest of the country. About one-half (52%) of the congregations surveyed indicated that COVID-19 has had a moderate or less impact on their congregation. Some congregations (14%) report being hit very hard financially by COVID-19 stating that at least 20% of their members are unemployed.
Impact of COVID-19 on Worship and Ministry
In regard to worship and ministry, the survey respondents indicated through their response that many congregations have delivered a robust response to the adverse effects of COVID-19. While the pandemic has elicited both positive and negative influences upon the congregations surveyed, sometimes the dual influences have occurred in same areas such as worship and outreach.
88% of the respondents indicate that their congregations have been able to offer online worship during the pandemic. Only 6% indicate that their congregation has not been able to offer any online activities during the pandemic.
73% of the respondents believe that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their worship, but a slightly higher number (77%) believe that COVID-19 has also created new opportunities for worship. Similarly, 50% of the respondents believe that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their outreach, while (61%) believe that COVID-19 has created new opportunities in this same area of ministry.
Over one-half (57%) of the respondents say that their worship attendance has increased during the pandemic compared to only 14% who indicate that worship attendance has declined. In most cases, however, increased worship attendance online has not translated into increased giving. Sixty-percent report that giving has decreased compared to only 16% who report that giving has increased during the pandemic.
Nearly 4 out of 5 respondents indicate that they plan to continue to offer online worship following the stay at home orders.
Respondents indicate that their congregants miss “feeling a sense of community” the most when compared to missing other elements of worship and ministry.
Nearly three-fourths of respondents revealed that their congregation has engaged in “delivering supplies to persons who cannot leave their home” during the pandemic and at least one-half have engaged in “distributing food to those in need” and “making masks.”
While COVID-19 has taken a severe toll on some congregations, others have shown strong signs of resiliency and hope.
Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the respondents say that their congregations are not worried about paying their pastor and staff in the near future.
In terms of balancing the budget, the responses are divided into thirds, with one-third expressing no concern, another third expressing some concern, and a third expressing moderate to heavy concern. Two-percent are wondering if they will be able to remain open after this global pandemic.
Responding to a list of possible state of mind descriptors, the majority of persons (68%) indicated that they are “hopeful” and another 52% indicated that they feel “resilient” about the future.
42% of respondents said that they feel that their congregation is an extremely innovative or very innovative congregation, signaling more creative responses to COVID-19.
38% of respondents said that their congregation would be “healthier than it was before” following the pandemic, compared to only 12% who said that they believe that it would be “less healthy than it was before.”
Respondents noted additional areas impacted by COVID-19, including:
Our leadership team, committee, and board meetings
Ability to grieve with those who died
Support of the homeless
Ability to integrate our new pastor
Need to gather as the Body of Christ
Has just made each of these look different
Sense of security
Sovereign Insurance Group's Risk Management resource, ThinkHR, is hosting a The FFCRA - What Employers Need to Know Webinar
As we hear more about reopening you are excited about the prospects of getting back to the business of the church. I am also sure you are taking as many precautions as possible to help your congregations reopen safely. As a part of our continued effort to provide your congregations with more information about changes in operations and changes in employment law due to the FFCRA, Sovereign Insurance Group's Risk Management resource, ThinkHR, is hosting a The FFCRA - What Employers Need to Know Webinar. Join us for our next webinar on Thursday, June 4th at 10:00 AM PDT / 1:00 PM EDT, a comprehensive look at the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including all available regulatory guidance. This is a free resource that any of your congregations can sign up and learn more about the FFCRA and how it will impact their employees and what it means for them during this time. If you have any questions regarding this resource or if you are interested in knowing more about the National Insurance Program and our resources please feel free to reach out to or visit Sovereign Insurance Group 484.654.3393
Clergy (Pastors, Chaplains, Spiritual Caregivers) are invited to participate in ABHMS' virtual retreat.
Are you struggling with grief and loss due to the challenges
during COVID-19? Are you struggling with grief as you try to minister to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic?
You are invited to American Baptist Home Mission Societies' (ABHMS) three-day virtual conference
"You Are Not Alone: A Space for Grace Retreat"
1-3 p.m. Tuesdays, June 16, 23 and 30.
Each day will feature a different grief-related topic; you can participate in as many or as few days as you prefer.
Day 1: June 16th - You Are Not Alone: We have each other. We can grieve. Topics Covered: Stages of Grief and Loss
Registration is free, but required for this webinar. Spaces are limited. Register at youarenotalone.ministrelife.org
ABC-USA Office of the General Secretary Releases Discussion Guide for Reopening Church Buildings
VALLEY FORGE, PA (5/1/20)—The American Baptist Churches USA Office of the General Secretary has released a new resource for American Baptist churches. The resource, “Discussion Guide for Reopening Your Church Building,” is designed to help American Baptist churches look at various points of consideration as they implement new methods, policies and procedures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is available in English and Spanish.
The Discussion Guide, developed with input from members of the Regional Executive Ministers Council, specifically focuses on two core areas, the physical and the personal. The physical area focuses on considering how to safely practice ministry and prepare your facility for ministry in this new era. The personal looks at the lingering effects of grief, economic distress, isolation, and other negative impacts from the pandemic which may create new needs among congregants.
View the Discussion Guide for Reopening Your Church Building here.
CARES Act Frequently Asked Questions
On March 27, 2020 President Trump signed the Coronavirus Relief, Aid and Recovery Economic Act (CARES Act), which is intended to “provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.” The types of assistance are broad and complex, covering many different aspects of American life. These FAQs will focus on those aspects that may be the most impactful for MMBB’s members and employers.
Relief for Individuals
Student Loan Relief
Relief for Employers
What provisions of the CARES Act applies to churches and church-related employers?
The CARES Act provides several forms of relief that churches and church-related organizations may be able to utilize. These include the Paycheck Protection Program Loan, Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan, a limited payroll tax credit, and the delay of payment of payroll taxes for a limited period of time.
What is an Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)?Please contact MMBB at 800.986.6222 or for information about either of these programs.
THE MINISTERS AND MISSIONARIES BENEFIT BOARD MMBB RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS FROM NEC AND REMC OFFICERS
NON-CONTRACTUAL BENEFITS AVAILABLE TO ABC-USA CLERGY
Ordained pastoral leaders, whose employers who cannot afford to continue their premiums during this time, will be placed on temporary continuance of $10/month premium for a period of up to 2 years. The key objective is to keep intact important life insurance and disability protections for members of the Comprehensive Plan.
During the period of continuance, MMBB would pay the $10/month premium on behalf of the employer from its Non-Contractual Benefits Fund..............Click here for more information
1. Let us start with prayer for our Churches, its Leaders, and our Government Leaders. (I Timothy 2:1-2; II Chronicles 7:14).
2. Recognize this is a very serious time. The World Health Organization has made the assessment that COVID19 can be characterized as pandemic. It is a real threat to the health of our communities............Click here for more info