Governor Baker's announcement on Monday 5/18 that churches could open in the first phase of economic re-entry certainly made our lives more complicated this week.  A whole host of new questions were raised and, as Rev. Laura told the Boston Globe this week, church leaders, already dealing with decision fatigue, were faced with more choices to make. It seems, as we scramble to respond to press requests (did you hear Rev. Laura on Radio Boston?), that everyone is watching to see what churches will do.

Church, we hear your confusion, your fears, your ache to return to worship, and your lament that so much has been lost.  Please know, in a week when the divisions of the Body of Christ have been exceedingly public, we are praying for every part. 

We are convinced that Churches are designed to be places of healing, not sources of sickness. No pastor wants to cause harm to their people or their neighbors. We’re advising much caution and priority concern those people most at-risk in our churches and our communities.

Just because congregations may return to their buildings does not mean they should. “‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial.” St. Paul wrote to the divided Church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:12).  The Massachusetts Council of Churches connects a wide range of Christian traditions, and a wide range of response:  some denominations have already declared that their churches may not gather in person until July 1, others until the end of the summer, and still others until May 2021 or until a vaccine is found. And, there are churches that will meet this Sunday.  We've compiled these plans, with other resources, on our website.

As we said previously to the Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board, any just response to the pandemic must prioritize care and resources for the communities hardest hit during the pandemic. We have yet to see this prioritizing from our national and state leadership. This is why MCC created One Church Fund, but church philanthropy can only do so much. Churches in Black, immigrant and unhoused communities that often serve as multi-service centers in addition to spiritual homes.  

While much of the response to “reopening” has focused on the economy, as Christians, we remember from our New Testament Greek  that word “economy” comes from “οικονομία” oikonomía- the whole household of God.  To care for the whole household of God means prioritizing not just the care of the fit and healthy, but of the sick and the lonely, the very old and very young. To care for the whole household of God means prioritizing the care of those most impacted. We expect the Church to behave differently.

In the days ahead, we are working to convene public health experts to flesh out the facts about risk and infection spread. We're also hosting specific conversations about how this new phase raises different questions for different parts of the Body of Christ, like the conversation on Friday 5/22 at 3pm about Re-entry in the Black Church.  

We can't make the hard decisions for you, but we aim to equip you with the information you and your church leaders need to make decisions that are true to your values and faith in God. Please know, we are praying the whole Body of Christ and our common witness to a weary world. Please pray for us, too. 

In hope, 
Revs. Laura, Meagan, Kenneth, and Carrington

On Friday May 22, at 3pm, join the Massachusetts Council of Churches and The Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience for "Covid Conversation: Re-Entry in the Black Church" streamed to Facebook Live.

Black Church pastors from across the Commonwealth and from a range of traditions will discuss the particular challenges and considerations for safe re-entry into the buildings of Black churches. 

Hosted by Rev. Kenneth Young of Massachusetts Council of Churches and Rev. Dr. Emmett G. Price III of ISBCE

With responses from:

-Rev. Dr. Conley Hughes of Concord Baptist Church, Milton
- Rev. Dr. J. Anthony Lloyd of Greater Framingham Community Church, Framingham
- Rev. Dr. Arlene Hall of Deliverance Center Worship Temple, Boston
-Rev. Dr. Atu White of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Springfield
- Rev. Dr. Barbara Headley of Zion Community Baptist Church, Springfield

The Massachusetts Council of Churches seeks to better understand the experience and the barriers to equal access of the federal Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. We hope to use this aggregate data to advocate for a more just and equitable process with our elected leadership, and for more philanthropic support of churches that were not able to access federal funds.

Please fill out this survey, whether or not your church applied or received funds. This form will take ~3 minutes to complete. By completing this form, you help to ensure a more just use of resources.

Individual data for a church will not be shared publicly. If you have questions or concerns, contact us.
Pastoral Leadership & Grief
Have you lost parishioners to COVID-19? Are you wondering how to cope or help others cope with the recent loss of norms? We have resources. Last week, Mass Council of Churches hosted Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Dyer, Assistant Professor of Counseling at Gordon Conwell Theological School, for a conversation about leading pastorally through the trauma of COVID19. Dr. Dyer has generously offered to gather pastoral colleague groups for a session on trauma and lament. If you are interested in joining one of these sessions, please email us at 
How can I help?
Support the Fund
Give now to support the One Church Fund.  Help us reach our initial threshold of $50,000 so that we can begin to give grants to churches in need.  We have been overwhelmed by the generosity we have seen so far--thank you to all who have shared their resources, especially the 50% of donors who have given to the MCC for the first time!

Share Your Skills--and Ask for Help!
Do you have a skill  that can help build up the Body of Christ? We are seeking to build a network of connection that will build the capacity of churches in the Commonwealth and strengthen ecumenical relationships.  Visit the One Church Fund Mutual Aid page and see what you might be able to offer to a community that needs help.  

Or maybe your church needs a little help!  Maybe you are a part time pastor like Rev. Meagan, who needs some help thinking about moving Christian Ed programs online.  Or maybe your church treasurer is interested in promoting online giving, but not sure where to start.  Maybe you just feel overwhelmed and need a listening ear.  Check out our Mutual Aid page to find the help you need.  None of us will make it through this alone--now is the time to find some companions for the journey.
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