COVID-19

Dear Siblings in Christ,

As the COVID-19 Pandemic expands and impacts our nation, our states, our cities and towns, and our communities, we want to provide you with many resources of information and support in navigating these unknown waters.

In this time of the COVID-19 virus, Heartland Presbytery staff are following the Mayor’s Stay-at-Home order. The office is closed. For our meetings we will have set up zoom links for your meetings. If you need to get a hold of any of the staff, please call their extension. All voicemails left here will be forwarded to an email alert system and then forward to the appropriate staff person for reply. We will be checking our emails regularly. 

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this difficult time.

Please know we are here for you, to support you.

Blessings and take care,

Dee Cooper, Brian Ellison, Sheri Fry, Michelle Jones, Melissa Scheffler

Re-Opening

  • When do we reopen? Many are asking this question across the United States. We recognize that re-opening is more than just showing up the next Sunday. There are many details and logistics that have to be considered. We have shared this list with your pastoral leaders to spark the beginnings of conversations. Please know we continue to support you being cautious and thoughtful in your decisions that impact your church and also the community members around you.
  • Here are some legal ramifications for sessions to consider in returning to their buildings from the General Counsel for the PC(USA). Click here to read more.
  • For additional guidance from the Presbytery Leadership Staff click here.
  • Center for Disease Control Recommendations for Re-Opening for Communities of Faith (pg 7-9). Also included are recommendations and guidance for daycares, schools, and camps. Please click here for some exceptional information.
  • The PC(USA)  offers theological and practical considerations. Click here to read more.
  • Are we in a blizzard that will go away soon, a long winter for which we need to hunker down for a lengthier period, or a short ice age in which everything will change? Here are two exceptional articles reflecting on this season. Leading Beyond the Blizzard and Strategies for Winter.
  • For a visual example of how things will look when you begin in live worship again, click here.

Financial Support for Churches

CAREs Act

Other Resources

Care for Our Pastors and Chaplains

We are living in a new world. We are deeply appreciative of your leadership for so many through the fears to wise decisions and faithful creative ministries. We know this is only the emergence of what will become a new reality during this uncertain time.

It definitely is all of us journeying into the unknown.

In the midst of caring for so many, please know we are praying for you and inviting you to take care of yourself.

Pastoral Response Team

If something happens to your pastoral leader…
We want you to know we are here to support you. The presbytery wants to be ready in case a pastor becomes ill. We have created a Pastoral Response Team with a detailed plan of how best to support you. Please know we hope we never have a need for this plan and if we do, we are ready. COM leaders sent out a questionnaire for you to start considering shared leadership. We hope you take the time to explore this and see it as an invitation for conversations that might be hard and yet so necessary and a gift to us all. If your pastoral leader becomes sick, please reach out to us for support.

Self-Care and Wellbeing

Mental Health Resources

  • Click here for an extensive list of resources for supporting your and your children’s emotional well-being.
  • Emotional and spiritual resiliency support from the Presbyterian Disaster Relief is available here.
  • Click here to listen to a podcast featuring David Kessler and Brené Brown on Grief and Finding Meaning.

Mission Opportunities

There are many ways to participate with the churches that are providing care and ministries to others. From food pantries, to blood donations, to mask making, click on this link to see what our local churches are doing, what are their needs, and how you can help.
Heart to Heart International—is distributing urgently needed equipment and medication to partners here and around the world during this global crisis. Rick Randolph is a member of Heartland Presbytery and the Chief Medical Officer.
 
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance—Our national churches response to disaster. They are on the ground working toward helping all in need.

Creative Ideas from Our Churches

Many of you have shared creative ideas of how you are being the church during this time, we share them here for others.—Creative Ways of Doing Church

Online Giving

Many congregations depend upon weekly offerings for current cashflow. Look for other ways to collect the offering:

  • The Presbyterian Foundation’s online giving service provides a quick and easy way for people to set up regular, automated gifts to the church, including contributions to One Great Hour of Sharing and other special offerings.

Other Stewardship Resources

Presbytery Meetings

All meetings of Committees and Commissions of the presbytery will be held via Zoom.  If you haven’t received the sign in codes, please contact your moderator or Michelle Jones, adminassist@heartlandpby.org.

Polity

If you have other polity or procedure questions relating to what is required by the church constitution or presbytery policy as your congregation responds to the COVID-19 situation, please contact Brian Ellison, Stated Clerk, at clerk@heartlandpby.org.

Board of Pensions

The Board of Pensions has offered many resources, relief for dues, and labor information.

Worship and Livestreaming Support

Currently the national limit on gathering is 10 persons. We strongly advise you not to meet to gather for worship if there is a chance you have any more than this number. And if you do meet, please ensure you are thoroughly sanitizing all surfaces that people might have come into contact with while they were in the church. We know this is a hard decision to not have church meeting in person. Yet, it is a faithful and responsible decision to care for the most vulnerable in your midst and to not spread the virus, even unknowingly. This invites a new way of being the church together. The church will meet, and celebrate, and worship God, just not live in person.

Several churches are finding creative options through online worship, Facebook Live, Zoom, recordings on YouTube, even conference calls that members can call in to listen.

Here is a list of Heartland Presbytery Churches offering online worship:

Churches Offering Online Worship in Heartland Presbytery

Below are helpful links and resources:

How to Stream Worship

Zoom Worship Preparation

Zoom User Tip Sheet

Church Attendance Is an Individual Choice

Guidelines on Livestreaming Services

1001 to Host Zoom Conversation Thursday on How to Stream Worship Services

How to Stream Your Worship on Facebook, for Any Size Church

Zoom Worship by Former GA Moderator Rev. Bruce Reyes Chow
Bruce will be offering this from 10:00-11:00 a.m. CDT every Monday. Follow his page on Facebook.

Hymnal and Book of Common Worship Rights for Online Streaming

Providing Pastoral Care for Your Members

Please utilize your phone and emails to check in on your homebound friends and family. You may not be symptomatic and yet still carrying the disease. Write letters, text them, use the phone to call and check in. Most hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, and other medical communities have prohibited outside visitors.

Presbytery Office

Due to the most recent ban on gathering of no more than 10 in one place, the presbytery office is closed to visitors. We have staff who fall into the higher risk categories and want to support you responsibly to help flatten the potential curve of infection.

All staff are available by phone and email. If you call the office please leave a message, this message will be forwarded to the appropriate staff person and returned as soon as they are able. The staff are fully available to you and your church during this season.

Labor Laws


Labor Laws and descriptions from the AMLC of the PCUSA.
Information has been provided in small amounts from the Department of Labor and guidance about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, but no regulations yet with full clarity. This is the most current information. When more clarification is provided, this will be updated.
U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes More Guidance for Workers and Employers Explaining Paid Sick Leave, Expanded Family and Medical Leave Benefits
U.S. Department Of Labor Announces Additional Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Links to CDC and Health Departments

Center for Disease Control

Missouri Health Department

Kansas Health Department