As we send you our sixth weekly newsletter during the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel the weight of these past weeks while the future remains unclear. We hear from such a wide range of churches and experiences.  The disparities between overwork and layoff, between drops in endowments and loss of offerings, between rural and urban communities are astounding.
 
In a “normal” year, for many Church leaders the time “after Easter” is a moment to breathe.  After Holy Week, the days that follow used to be a cathartic release.  We were tired, yes, but from rich and productive spiritual work with our people. This year we are tired, but from technology, from perceived failings, from so much suffering around us. The energy of Holy Week was off, and as a result, this time “after Easter” does not provide the same relief.
 
For some Christians, we are already in Easter; for Orthodox Christians, we are in Holy Week now. We feel, maybe more than ever before, something close to what the disciples were feeling: Easter joy, and deep fear.  

We have heard the obligation of some pastors who felt the need to be uplifting when that’s not really where you are.  The disciples too were also afraid and confused, isolated in a locked room.  And Jesus showed up among them.  You all are doing unbelievable ministry with very real and painful constrains.   It is OK to grieve what is lost in these days. The Risen Christ come to even our locked doors and will not leave us stranded.

We will not leave you either.  Please connect with us, through one of the opportunities below, or by reaching out to let us know what help is missing that you need.


Let Rev. Laura preach this Sunday for you!
We want to provide you with a week of homiletical rest!  Rev. Laura’s sermon on John 20:19-31 ,“Come on in the Room: A Sermon of Peace for Those Behind Closed Doors,” is now available for you to use.
 
Watch and use it on YouTube here,
Or download the sermon video file via Google Drive here,
 
A bio of Rev. Everett can be found here. And while not necessary, an honorarium would be appreciated to support our continued ministry of making the vibrant Church visible and connecting the parts of the Body of Christ most suffering to resources. You can make a generous donation to our ministry here.
 
CARES Act Payroll Protection Program
News broke today that CARES Act funding has run out.  We are hopeful that there will be more funding added in the weeks ahead, in which case it may be important for churches to continue to apply so they can be in line to receive funds. Resources for applying are at https://www.masscouncilofchurches.org/covid-19-response/
 
Daily Prayer at 4:15pm
Beginning on 4/15/20 (the anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing and “One Boston Day”), the Massachusetts Council of Churches along with many interfaith and civic partners invites all people to a daily, intentional, universal common prayer over your town and the Commonwealth at 4:15pm each afternoon. Set an alarm each day to pray. You can use this prayer written for Christians with broad interfaith participation. It may be adapted for other settings and states, with attribution: “May This Plague Pass Over:” A Prayer for Our Commonwealth
 
Inequality and pandemic
In Massachusetts, we are missing much COVID19 data along racial lines. As Christians who hold to the conviction that every person is made in the image and likeness of God, we ask for your prayers and efforts that prioritize care for the communities hardest hit with the least resources. This is also why Mass. Council of Churches is creating an emergency fund to support churches serving vulnerable communities. We commend to you this op-ed by State Representative and ER doctor Jon Santiago, Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins, and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.  They proclaim that “bold action is needed to battle coronavirus in communities of color: We cannot allow the status quo to prevail while COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths rise in Black and Latinx communities.”
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Supporting children, youth & families during Covid 19
On Tuesday April 21 at 6pm join Rev. Dr. Anton Vrame, Christian Educators and Parents across Massachusetts as we share best practices on how to support children and Youth during Covid-19.  Rev. Carrington will host this meeting with Rev. Vrame, Director of the Department of Religious Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.    If you can’t make it, the meeting will be recorded and posted to our Covid-19 page.

Phone Number: 312-626-6799
Meeting ID: 438 234 6652
Password: 463299

Rev. Laura’s Weekly Briefing
Rev. 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.
 
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.
 
In hope,
Revs. Laura, Meagan, Kenneth, and Carrington
 
 
 
 
Please Give:

In a time of crisis and chaos, we need coordination, clear information and care. The Massachusetts Council of Churches is a credible network responding to the real needs of churches so they can serve their local communities well. If you believe in this work, if you want it to continue, we ask you to give now. 

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Give one time or set up a monthly donation from our website by clicking on the "donate" button below.  Thank you for your faithful support.

 
 
 
 
 

Pastoral Check-in Office Hours on Zoom:

 

Thursday April 16 at 6PM 

Monday April 20 at 3PM

 

Zoom Link:

https://zoom.us/j/4382346652?pwd=M3pzMkMxcTF3N0FOeFdHYmhEYit3dz09

Phone Number: 312-626-6799

Meeting ID: 438 234 6652

Password: 463299

 
 
 
 
 

Please fill out this form only once:

https://massgov.formstack.com/forms/houses_of_worship_questions



In collaboration with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), we are creating an interactive web map to identify organizations  providing vital services to those most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, especially those serving vulnerable populations. As this crisis goes on, we know more vulnerable populations will be in greater need of support.

To capture this information, we ask that ONE clergy person/designated leader only from each congregation/church complete this form. We only need one submission from each congregation. We are looking to identify feeding programs, 12-step meetings, parking lots, nursery facilities, and potential volunteers for spiritual caregiving, both in person and remotely. If your church has multiple locations, we ask that you fill out a survey for each location. This will ensure that locations will appear within the community that they serve.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Pastors' Emergency Fund

We’re making a commitment to churches that are most vulnerable, those that are 1-2 offerings away from closure, those where pastors are paid by what comes in the plate that morning.  We are working to create a Pastors’ Emergency Fund that would prioritize those pastors with working-class congregations and financially precarious lives.  If you would like to help with establishing this fund and developing guidelines for donors and recipients, please be in touch at council@masscouncilofchurches.org.

 
 
 
 
 
 

masscouncilofchurches.org      |     (617) 523-2771
 
 
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