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
- 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
- Details of CARES Act: Financial bridge that churches & non-profits need.
- The CARES Act 2020—Read more about this stimulus act here. You can also visit clergysupport.com for a detailed breakdown of the CARES Act 2020, with helpful tips.
- Questions regarding the CARE’s act and polity. See Polity section below.
- PPP Loan Forgiveness—As program guidance continues to change, we encourage all borrowers to monitor the SBA and treasury website for the most current information.
- Starting Your PPP Loan Forgiveness Process—Loan Forgiveness Application; Summary of PPP Flexibility Act
- Get details about Heartland Presbytery Emergency Loans. Emergency Relief Application. COVID-19 Short-Long Term Recovery Application.
- Board of Pensions is offering relief for dues. See Board of Pensions section below.
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
Self-Care and Wellbeing
- Self-Care during a Time of Crisis—Information and resources from the Emerson Center.
- Things to Do at Home during COVID-19.
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.
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
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
- Engaging in the Special Offerings in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. – April 16, 2020
- Worried about congregational finances? Read this perspective from Mission Engagement Advisor Jon Moore and contact your MEA for a consultation anytime.
- There are various other text-to-give and online giving platforms.
- Read: Stewardship in a Pandemic by Robert Hay Jr. (Presbyterian Foundation).
- The One Great Hour of Sharing special offering supports vital ministries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit web page.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Several important questions and answers are emerging around what the Book of Order and presbytery policies require regarding applying for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program of CARES.
- Information Regarding Virtual Meetings and Our Book of Order
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:
Below are helpful links and resources:
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.
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.
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.