Dear friends in Christ who are called to lead your congregations in this unprecedented moment,
Thank you for all you do to further Christ’s mission at this time. In the coming weeks your synod staff plan on sending communications specifically to lay leaders of congregations. We will use all our communication tools for this. Please sign up to receive important email communication during this COVID-19 time. We have congregational leaders in our database but by entering names and emails, you are giving your synod office permission to send mass emails. Click here to sign up. We respect your privacy. Subscribers of this email list will not have their email addresses shared or redistributed in any way.
We are also planning a Zoom meeting for congregation presidents on Tuesday, March 24 at 7 pm.
You’ll find the instructions on how to take part at the end of this letter.
Here are some things to think about.
Your pastor has been very involved with figuring out ways to minister in an unexpected and rapidly changing environment. We believe things will go best when pastors and congregational leaders are working together and speaking with one voice. In particular issues around how to handle worship, funerals, weddings, and baptism, are best thought through together.
In addition, while caring for the congregation and community, your pastor will have concerns specific to their families. Like they say on the airline, we need to put our mask on first. This applies for pastors, church staff and for you, too. Support your pastor and staff, so they are free to support you, the congregation, and community.
This is a time to experiment and try out new approaches to ministry. Video worship and online giving are being tried for the first time in many places. Consider partnering with other congregations. Not every innovation will go well the first time, and that is just fine. Experiment, learn from it, and adjust for another try.
Lay leaders have a special role to play in encouraging continued and increasing financial support for ministry. Some congregations have sent members envelopes addressed to the church, others are setting up online giving options. Open every possible door.
There are opportunities to serve your communities like you’ve not seen before. Everyone’s life has been disrupted, but that disruption will fall heavier on some than others. Look for the ways your congregation can be a center in mission for your neighbors. Some congregations are focusing on food needs; others hope to offer programming for school age kids. Some are partnering with other congregations and community organizations. We believe that in reaching out, not pulling in, your congregation and community will be best blessed.
Be mindful of unemployment insurance and laws. Pastors and church staff do not have unemployment insurance.
None of us knows yet how long it will be before restrictions on public gatherings are lifted. Continue to follow the guidance of public health and local leaders. Their God-given vocation is to help with such things. Continue to operate in the spirit of “in the meantime…” knowing that God’s promises all are solid.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Jon Anderson, Bishop
Rev. Stephen W. Cook, Synod Minister for Equipping Congregations
RSVP to the Congregation Lay Leaders Zoom Meeting
- Click here to RSVP. We would like congregation presidents to join this online meeting but if they are unavailable and/or need additional key lay leaders to join this meeting that is okay, but we do not want to overwhelm our meeting to receive the best online connection.
- The Zoom link will come to you in an email AFTER you RSVP.
- In the RSVP you will have a chance to submit any questions you hope this meeting will answer.