Thank you. This is our third weekly COVID-19 Newsletter. Each week as we work to put together the resources we hope will be most helpful to you, we marvel at how much has changed. Now churches are working on their plans for virtual Holy Week, and we are feeling closer than ever to the women in Mark who were afraid to go out of their home, and who were confused by the emptiness they found at the tomb. Confused…and amazed. As we try to help you sort through what we can, we are amazed at what we have seen: your commitment to find ways to serve one another, to continue to proclaim the gospel in a variety of new formats, and to minister to those who are most vulnerable. Thank you for your witness in this time of confusion and anxiety.
We hope we can provide some sense of stability as we continue to provide regular opportunities for connecting each week—all of which are listed below this letter--while we continue to work to keep you updated on the latest developments and new opportunities.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Although not everything is known about the details of the CARES Act, it does appear that churches will be eligible for forgivable payroll loans under the CARES Act. We suggest contacting your bank as soon as possible to inform them you are an existing client and plan to participate in the loan program. We are working on getting answers for you and invite you to join us for webinars with updates over the next two weeks:
Many congregations have had the experience of an unwanted, inappropriate, or hateful interruption of their services online. Read more about Rev. Laura's experience and the developing response to classify this as a hate crime in this Religious News Service article. There is increasing pressure on Zoom and law enforcement to protect sacred religious spaces online. We commend this Zoom security guide from the Southern New England Conference of the UCC. We will keep you informed as this moves forward.
Rev. Laura’s Weekly BriefingRev. Laura will be on facebook live each Wednesday at 3 with a briefing on what we’re learning and a time to ask questions and share resources. You can watch this week's briefing here.
Let Rev. Laura preach the Sunday after Easter for you!
Rev. Laura will be offering a pre-recorded message for the Sunday after Easter (April 19) on John 20:19-31 and "Doubting Thomas," to help give all you hardworking pastors a preaching break. We know some pastors in the past have taken the week after Easter off, but may not feel like that is possible right now because of the concerns of the community. We can at least provide you with a week of homiletical rest! Look for the sermon next week on our website. We will link to it in our next newsletter as well.
Church, please remember that none of us has to go this alone—and that none of us can. We are grateful for your partnership and ministry in this time. Please continue to connect with us, and let us know how we can help support your ministry.
Revs. Laura, Meagan, Kenneth, and Carrington
P.S. If you have found our work useful over the past few weeks and have some resources to share, please support our work! You can give online safely at www.masscouncilofchurches.org/donate. We couldn't do any of this without you.