Church without Walls

Resources for being the CHURCH without going to church!


Scroll down for – Worship online basics, Resources for Worship Online, Worship Examples, Pastoral Care/Fellowship, Education, Administration, Self-Care, Bookshelf and Other.

Key points: Work with FACTS (CDC, WHO, etc.). Work with others to find creative ways to be the church. Communicate this widely.

Re-opening the Church Building

NYS Guidelines for Religious Groups/Reopening – includes links for overview, detailed information and a sample business form. Note that at the end of the detailed information is a virtual form that MUST be submitted.

Tracking the virus in NYS: Covidtracker and CovidActNow

CS Letter to churches regarding reopening – August 28

CS Checklist for Reopening

CS Guidelines from the Resource Presbyter

Decision Tree for Religious Groups from World Health Organization

Returning to Church – a guide from the Wisconsin Council of Churches

Beginning Conversations for Re-Entry – PCUSA

Public Worship: Theological and Practical Considerations – PCUSA

Other Considerations

Re-opening Child-care – CDC

Music in churches – Chorus America (the future of singing – soloists, congregational, etc.)

How often to disinfect Bibles, Hymnals, etc. – oriented toward libraries and museums, but could be adapted for church use.

Theological Reflections

Scattered Church – includes reflections and practical resources for the scattered church.


Worship online basics

Resources for Worship Online

Worship Examples

South Valley holds worship using Zoom with a powerpoint base. See their powerpoint here (notice the great use of artwork!). The Presbytery also offers a worship experience using Zoom on Sunday nights at 7 p.m. If you’d like to learn how to put one of these together, the Worship Team meets on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m.

An option for folks that are not internet-savvy or who have limited bandwidth is to provide a weekly service for home liturgy. This can be snail mailed and/or emailed. A sample of this type of service can be found here. Cayuga-Syracuse is also providing a home liturgy for folks.

An at home service for April 19th is here.

Pastoral Care/Fellowship

Those in social isolation need pastoral care and fellowship. Consider the following options:

  • send out the bulletin (either snail mail or email) each Sunday with notes from members
  • set up a daily conference call or zoom meeting for prayer and checking in. I know of several Ghanian congregations who have been doing this every day for years… often at 7 a.m!
  • create a prayer chain that has those who are isolated calling each other on a daily basis for prayer and check-in, as well as activating your Deacons and others to reach out on a daily basis
  • set up an online games group in your congregation (such as Words with Friends, etc.) and publish the winners each week on your Facebook or Webpage.
  • Ask members to share their story of how they came to your church on your Facebook page. For those who aren’t online savvy, ask those who are to interview those members and share the stories.
  • If you don’t have a Facebook presence… now is the time to consider this platform for its ease of use and its ability to connect folks.
  • Use a conference call for the choir. It may be difficult to work through complicated pieces but it is fun for a hymn sing.
  • The Book of Common Worship has been edited to include services that can occur when family cannot gather: Prayer at the Time of Death and Comforting the Bereaved.

Education

There are a growing number of materials for online faith formation. Please curate your education materials carefully. There are some really good reformed materials out there… and some that are theologically challenged.

Start here: Taking Faith Formation Online.

Also Building Blocks. Check out the at home section in particular.

Shareable resources are available via subscription.  If there is interest in the Presbytery providing these resources to churches, please contact Karen (kchamis@cayugasyracuse.org)   

Here’s a great article Caring for One Another: Care, Share, Play, Love with ideas for making the most of this surreal time.

Check out resources for children at www.illustratedministry.com; visual resources at sanctifiedart.org (wonderful for worship!).  Looking for videos… check out https://www.worshiphousemedia.com/producers/423/salt-project.

Administration

The work of the church continues! Zoom can be used for meetings, as can conference calls (www.freeconferencecall.com is one option).

The offering can be collected via mail…. as well as via a mobile app. To sign up for the latter, consider using the platform provided by the Presbyterian Foundation. Information can be found here: Foundation A video about this can be found by clicking HERE.

A sample Congregational Plan can be found here: CPC Plan (shared with permission)

Looking to adopt your bylaws to include virtual Session meetings, or to create an Administrative Commission to handle emergencies when the body can’t meet? Scipioville has shared these.

The information on the CARES Act changes daily (even after its release). Some of this information may therefore be outdated, but it may still be helpful overall.

Self-Care

Put the oxygen mask on your own face before helping others!

Bookshelf

Reading materials for responding to a pandemic:

Additional Resources

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