Coronavirus Updates: Critical Information, Resources, Tools and Tips
Coronavirus Updates: Critical Information, Resources, Tools and Tips
ESSENTIAL MESSAGES FROM BISHOP BICKERTON
- Bishop Urges All to Join In Tomorrow at Noon as We Respond to the Pandemic With the Universality of Prayer, Compassion and Tenderness (March 24, 2020)
- Bishop's Statement on Latest Developments (March 17, 2020)
- Mandated Suspension of in-person Worship Services for Two weeks (March 13, 2020)
- Response to Rising Coronavirus Concerns in New Rochelle and Among Members of the New York Annual Conference (March 11, 2020)
GENERAL INTEREST: CHURCH RESPONSE TO COVID-19
- Chuck Knows Church: Things We Can Do. In this new series of videos Chuck Knows Church teams up with #SeeAllThePeople to share a few simple ideas that your church can do to help your community during this time of crisis.
- Using the Love Commandment to Talk COVID-19 With Kids, from the magazine Sojourners
- A Concise Coronavirus Guide for Churches, a resource from Christianity Today
- Congregations Improvise Ways to Fight COVID-19’s Isolation
- Churches Adapting to COVID-19 Restrictions by Linda Bloom, Assistant News Editor for United Methodist News Service
- COVID 19: Impact of Agency Gatherings, Support Extended to Staff and Ministries is a press release issued by UMC Global Ministries on March 17, 2020
COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY
- FREE Graphics to Help you Engage Your Church During the COVID-19 Pandemic, from LightStock.com, the provider of faith based, family-friendly, online stock photos. A great resource for beefing up your COVID-19 messaging on your church website and social media platforms.
- When God Closes a Church Door, He Opens a Browser Window, Christianity Today examines how Platforms, apps, and networks once built as a supplement to in-person gatherings have become the primary point of connection for millions. (3/19/20)
- We Compared Google Hangouts and Zoom to See Which is Better for Working From Home — and Zoom is the More Comprehensive Video Conferencing Tool. Forget the headline... This is a pretty good head-to-head comparison of the two videoconferencing options from Business Insider. Take the assessment into account when deciding what can work for creating online connection with your leadership and congregation.
- Taking Your Worship Online: A Guide for Beginners and Everyone Else from Resource UMC
- Use Technology to Extend Worship Beyond the Sanctuary: Part 1 from Resource UMC
- How to Stream Worship Beyond the Sanctuary: Part 2 from Resource UMC (A deeper dive than Part 1, includes equipment recommendations, costs, etc.)
- Web Ministry: Privacy and Permissions from Resource UMC
- A Beginners Guide to Live Streaming for Churches (Video) and Live Streaming Setup for Small Churches are helpful primers from Jake Gosselin, creator of churchfront.com, a comprehensive online resource for worship leaders globally. The video offering is apt to be most useful for churches with a bit of a budget, but overall, Gosselin is a great resource for essential information on tech for churches.
- Live Stream on YouTube--Learn How to Get Started
- How to Use Facebook Live to Stream Your Church Services. Written in 2016, but this is still solid advice on how to get started. The author has added additional information at the end of the piece in response to inquiries from Churches new to streaming because of COVID-19.
- Tips for conducting virtual worship from NYAC Communications
- Simsbury UMC will live stream worship in lieu of in-person services
- How a Seattle UMC Live Streamed During Covid-19 Lockdown: Rev. Jeremy Smith, Hacking Christianity blogger, offers tips on setting up a church live stream
- Weathering winter (or coronavirus) with virtual worship: Tips from UM Communications on live streaming worship
- Creating an Online Faith Community
- Grow Your Church Online with a web ministry
- Amplify Media offers free video resources for Deep Blue Kids, Abingdon Lenten studies, and Spring Bible studies
LIVE STREAM BASICS AND OPTIONS
There are a dizzying number of streaming options, with more becoming available too quickly to count. For purposes of getting started quickly, you can't beat Facebook Live or YouTube Live, so there's detailed information below.
1) Simulated Live Streaming: You upload a pre-recorded video to a hosting service like Youtube or Vimeo, copy/paste the share URL into your web site's video section, and the platform will play the video like it is live.
2) Live Streaming Direct to Social Media Platforms, like Facebook Live, is a great way to meet immediate, short needs largely because it is easy to set up and your videos can be shared, which broadens your reach and exposure. Best of all, it's really simple; you can even mount your phone to get it done. If you’re streaming using a desktop computer or laptop, click inside the status update box at the top of your newsfeed and choose the “live video” icon from the menu. A browser window pops up, activating your computer’s webcam. For mobile users, you can use the Facebook app. Simply tap the “live” icon beneath the status update box. Write a description for your video, set your audience (Public, Friends, etc.), choose a filter, and press “start live video.”
YouTube Live is another easy option. Using a desktop computer, simply click on the recorder icon in the upper right hand corner, followed by “Go Live.” Next, select “Webcam,” enter a title and description for your stream, and choose a privacy setting. You can also choose to schedule your live stream for a later date, and choose from more options under Advanced Settings. Click “save” when you’re done, and then “Go Live” to begin streaming. Streaming to YouTube via the “Events” dashboard is ideal if you prefer to announce a planned event before it goes live. You can access or schedule a live stream via the Live Control room.
3) When your church is ready to graduate to a higher quality approach, it will require a "decent" financial investment. To stream your service live to your website, you will need to have a streaming provider, an encoder, a camera operated by someone who records the service and is familiar with or willing to learn the process. Your provider's platform will issue an embed code that will need to be copied/pasted into the video section of your church website. Below are just a handful of streaming providers, but you are encouraged to reach out to other churches for recommendations as well.
- Living As One
- Vimeo Live Stream
- Media Fusion
Have questions about how to proceed? Feel free to email NYAC for assistance.
MUSIC, LICENSING AND COPYRIGHT
- Six Myths About Copyrights that Can Put Your Church at Risk, an assessment from Christian Copyright Solutions
- 22 Most Frequently Asked Questions of Church Musicians, a resource from Discipleship Ministries
- A Collection of Public Domain Hymns, a 2007 resource from Discipleship Ministries
- Hymns by Year of Composition or Copyright, a PDF from Discipleship Ministries
- One License offers gratis music licenses through April 15, 2020
- One License FAQs. Including this link largely because it includes answers to a number of generally applicable questions about music licensing
- Christian Copyright Solutions, offers live stream or on-demand licenses for more than 25 million Christian and secular songs. Annual fee for a church of 199 or less congregants is $284 plus a one-time set up fee.
- Online Worship and Music Resources for Live Streaming, an extensive list of resources from UMC Discipleship Ministries
ALTERNATIVES TO IN-PERSON HOLY COMMUNIONOnline “Wesleyan Love Feast is a very creative alternative to serving Holy Communion. This is a Christian Fellowship meal that recalls the times when Jesus shared with his disciples. There are varieties of resources available to you as you consider this option:
- The Love Feast and other useful resources from Discipleship Ministries
- Love Feast Explanation
- Comfort Food: A Feast of Love is an excellent resource from Marcia McFee
CORONAVIRUS-RELATED RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA
How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism, As COVID-19 infections increase, so too does racism and xenophobia.
This resource from Teaching Tolerance, outlines “Speak Up” strategies to let people know you’re not OK with racist or xenophobic comments about coronavirus or anything else.
FINANCE AND GIVING
- General Council on Finance and Administration (GCF&A) is providing several resources to local churches and church leadership on both live streaming and giving at the local church level during these times of quarantine and confinement:
Live Streaming Using What You Have, with Andrew Jensen (facilitator)
Facebook Live, Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 4:00pm (EST)
Jensen will be offer easy to follow tips on how local churches can navigate through all the resources available to live stream and otherwise provide church services. To take part in the event, go to GCFA’s Facebook account on Wednesday (3/24) at 4:00pm.
eGiving: Easy Tips to Support Your Virtual Ministry Webinar, offered by eGiving During Virtual Ministry
Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 11:00am (EST)
The webinar will focus on answering questions on e-giving and the local church. Go here to register for this event.
- 10 Ideas for Church Financial Leaders Amid the COVID19 Crisis, from Discipleship Ministries. This is a basic resource, but the information is good to know and could prompt some discussion.
- Electronic Giving Increases Offerings, this piece from United Methodist Communications outlines seven reasons why your church should offer online giving options.
CARING FOR YOURSELF
- How to Handle Coronavirus Anxiety | Special Edition. This special edition podcast is from Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris.
- WESPATH COVID-19 UPDATES:
In recognition of the unprecedented nature of this virus and its impact on the health of its communities, HealthFlex is offering enhanced benefits, including:
1) COVID-19 tests at no cost from both Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare. Note: CDC recommends you first verify with a provider that COVID-19 testing is necessary (e.g., via MDLIVE).
2) Virtual medical visits at no cost from MDLIVE for the next 90 days (mid-June) at 1-888-750-4991 or MDLIVE.com.
3) Early refills of your prescription drugs through OptumRx.
4) Blueprint for Wellness: We recognize that now may not be the best time to get your Blueprint for Wellness screening. The Health team is working to extend the deadline both for the $100 Pulse Cash incentive and the 250 bonus Virgin Pulse points for completing the screening early. New deadlines will be communicated at a later date.
5) If you are feeling anxious or stressed, please take advantage of available counseling through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). HealthFlex participants and covered dependents can access up to eight free virtual visits. Call 1-866-881-6800 for a consultation and list of covered providers in your area. Optum also offers a Public Crisis Line available to anyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, free of charge at 1-866-342-6892—so you can share the phone number with family and friends
- Centering and Reflection Time for Clergy
All NYAC clergy are encouraged to join us for reflection each Thursday at 12:30pm to center, pray and prepare ourselves for the ministry work ahead. To join us, login at https://zoom.us/j/617452793 or call 646-586-7788 and enter meeting ID number: 617-452-793
Use the links below to watch past Centering and Reflection Times:
- Rev. David Gilmore, Dir. of Congregational Development and Revitalization, NYAC (March 19, 2020)
- Rev. Jenna Johnson, Youth Ministry Coordinator, NYAC (March 26, 2020)
- Rev Matt Curry, Dir. Connectional Ministries, NYAC (April 2, 2020)
CARING FOR YOUR CONGREGATION
- Mental Health: A Guide for Faith Leaders and the Quick Reference on Mental Health for Faith Leaders, are both from the American Psychiatric Association, the national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses.
- Resources for Spiritual Wellness in Anxious Times, from the Upper Room
- Sample response plan for churches from Hamden Plains UMC in Connecticut
- COVID-19: 100 Ideas for Ministers and Ministry Leaders
- Combating the stigma and discrimination associated with coronavirus
- Mental health and coping during COVID-19
- Talking with children about coronavirus disease 2019
- People at higher risk and special populations
- A Coronavirus Prayer
- Hymns in Times of Crisis
YOUTH FOCUSED UPDATES
- How Teenagers can Protect their Mental Health During Coronavirus (COVID-19): Six 6 Strategies for Teens Facing a New (Temporary) Normal is a thoughtful list of recommendations from the United Nations Children's Fund, the UN agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.
- A Message for NYAC Youth in the Wake of COVID-19: Please Stay Home, a timely piece authored by our NYAC Youth Ministries Coordinator, Jenna Johnson.
- Effective Youth Ministry During the Coronavirus Outbreak
HEALTH ORGANIZATION UPDATES
New York State Department of Health website including county by county statistics and hotline phone number
Connecticut coronavirus website including county by county statistics
From the Centers for Disease Control:
- What you Need to know About Coronavirus Handout; download in English, simplified Chinese or Spanish
CDC resources for community and faith-based leaders including a checklist and cleaning recommendations
CDC resources for K-12 schools and childcare programs including a checklist and cleaning recommendations
CDC Posters to print and post on how to prevent the spread, symptoms, and what to do if you are sick
CDC resources for homeless shelters including interim guidance and cleaning recommendations
- Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak
- Worldometer, offers live statistics and news tracking the number of confirmed cases, recovered patients, and death toll by country.