April 13, 2020
Weekly Resource and Update Email

Each Monday, the Virginia Synod sends send the best resources and updates we have collected during the last week. Prior editions of this email are now archived at vasynod.org/covid-19 under the "COVID-19 Resource Emails" tab.

We continues to update the Virginia Synod COVID-19 web page with information from the ELCA, CDC, and covering a number of  prepardness and response resources, as well as  liturgical resources.

If you have suggestions for needed resources, please contact Pastor John Wertz at wertz@vasynod.org.
Worship and Community
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s 2020 Easter Message
Our experiences this Easter are remarkably similar to those of the first Easter. Amidst fear and anxiety and crushing disappointment, we will sing our "Alleluias" with growing hope, strength, defiance and joy, confident that God loves us completely and has brought us into eternal life. Christ is risen. Alleluia.

To view Bishop Eaton's 2020 Eater message, click here .
Accompaniments for Hymns During Easter
Below are links to downloadable mp3 audio files providing organ accompaniments for hymns that are appropriate for use during the Easter season. All are in the public domain, so there are no copyright restrictions on playing the mp3 for your streaming worship or posting the words on your video feed or an accompanying bulletin. (Thanks to Nancy Delaney and Christ Lutheran Church in Roanoke for providing these.)

Hymns for the Easter Season
Online Worship Opportunities
Are you and your congregation planning on sharing online liturgy or worship opportunities? Please share information them with Emily Pilat at  pilat@vasynod.org . We're working to share as many of these opportunities for digital worship as we can on our website at  www.vasynod.org/online-worship  and on our social media accounts, and promote them each Sunday.
Stewardship and Financial Resources
The Offering and Digital Worship
As worship is adapting to a digital space, congregations have an opportunity to be more intentional about making the connection between offerings and ministry. Now more than ever, it is important to lift up the ways that gifts of time, talents, and financial resources make ministry happen.
You can find more information about the CARES Act and Payroll Protection loans on the Virginia Synod website: vasynod.org/covid-19 under the 'Preparedness and Response Resources" tab.

If you have questions about the CARES Act, Pastor John Wertz, is available for additional conversation. You can contact him at wertz@vasynod.org .
ELCA Resources for Paycheck Protection Program
The ELCA has new resources available addressing Paycheck Protection Program loans for churches. An FAQ document and a video to explain the process are available at www.elca.org/publichealth .
Mission Investment Fund and ELCA Federal Credit Union Offers of Assistance During COVID-19
Both the Mission Investment Fund and the ELCA Federal Credit Union have expressed the willingness and capacity to offer assistance to our investors and borrowers who are facing hardship during the COVID-19 crisis. Eva Roby has written to all of our customers and to synod bishops to share news of how we can help. Their website homepage message announces the assistance that they can provide – and we link to a special page, www.mif.elca.org/important-information , listing specifics of our operations at this time.
Youth Ministry and Faith Formation
Illustrated Ministry
Offers free weekly coloring pages and devotionals during the pandemic. To learn more and download your own coloring pages, click here .
Government Information and Programs
Guidance for Faith Communities from Governor Northram's Office
Last week, Governor Northam's Office issued specific guidance for faith communities in Virginia who are trying to navigate the impact of COVID-19. The document provides information on requirements for "Drive-In" worship, addresses concerns about funerals, and comments on unemployment benefits for church workers.
FFCRA Employee Notification Posters
As a part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, all employers are required to notify their employees of new benefits related to containing the Coronavirus. The Department of Labor has created free posters that you can email to employees now and post in your buildings when we return to working on-site. The posters are free and can be downloaded using the buttons below.
Information on Emergency Benefits from SNAP
Emergency benefits will be made available to Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants during the months of March and April, as part of a provision set forth by the Families First Coronavirus Responses Act of 2020. Under this provision, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) will issue the emergency benefits to any household not already receiving the maximum benefits. For more information, click here .
Upcoming Webinars & Online Resources
5 Helpful Ideas from Leadership Blogs and Emails
Each week, we receive a flurry of "Leading in a Crisis" emails flooding our inboxes. Here are 5 helpful ideas gleaned from those emails and blog posts last week. Several of the articles included in this edition focus on self-care for leaders and thinking about the future.
ELCA Coaching Weekly Zoom Conversations
ELCA's Coaching Ministry continues to offer a safe and brave space for congregational leaders across the country to gather for topical presentations, followed by a time of sharing in small groups. Please join us Wednesday of Holy Week, April 8, as we welcome Rev. Dr. Phil Hirsch, Executive Director of the Domestic Mission Unit of the ELCA, as our guest presenter. He will speak to us on the topic of "Hope and Holy Week."

We look forward to hearing an inspirational message from Phil, followed by breaking into small groups for each of us to share and discover our next faithful step in our own contexts, as we navigate together finding Hope in the midst of a Holy Week shaped by the reality of COVID-19.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 180 439 412
Summary of New Security Features for Zoom
Zoom has recently rolled out a number of new security features to keep meetings safe and secure. For more information on these features, click here .
Ministry Partner Resources
Telehealth Options Now Available for Child, Adult, and Family Counseling
During this challenging time, Lutheran Family Services of Virginia Counselors are here for you. We are changing our model to adjust to social distancing and are now offering telehealth options. The anxiety of the COVID-19 crisis can bring on new stresses or can trigger past difficulties.

From the comfort of your own home, you or your child can participate in therapy with a trained counselor. We have  IMMEDIATE OPENINGS,  and at some locations, still offer face-to-face appointments.

Our counselors have varying hours to serve children, families, and adults. They specialize in grief and loss, anxiety, depression, parenting support, and coping strategies. They also have nationally recognized, rigorous training to work with the unique needs of families who have adopted and fostered.

How to Schedule
Schedule by calling 888-841-4835 or emailing Menta lHealthReferral@lfsva.org . We accept several major insurances, Medicaid, and self-pay.
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy Mask Info
The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy   (VICPP) is asking for volunteers to sew face masks in an effort to aid frontline workers in need of supplies. Workers on the front lines need face masks. Homemade masks aren't suitable for protecting healthcare workers, but EMT’s can give them to patients they assist. Also bus drivers, farmworkers, and countless others need masks.

Set a goal (e.g. we can do 200 masks) and start sewing. Please let VICPP know how many you think you can make and we’ll send you information next week about where to send the masks.

Here’s  a link to a face mask pattern that was in the New York Times  ( link to PDF of the article ). Please email Kim Bobo the Executive Director of VICPP at  Kim@virginiainterfaithcenter.org  and share how many masks you think you can make.

Another way to give back is to offer supplies. Does your congregation have a stockpile of hand sanitizer, hand soap or wipes? If so, please consider donating them to your local fire station or EMT.

Many of us have asked how we can be of help during this challenging time. Here's a project you can get started on immediately. Thank you for your generosity and activism.
Synod Office Contacts
A reminder that the Virginia Synod Office of the Bishop has asked its staff to work remotely from their homes in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. We ask at this time should you need to contact our staff to do so directly via email (you can find all staff persons email contacts on our website ).

Should you need to phone either our offices, please know the Eastern Office of the Bishop plans to have phone calls received during office hours (8:00 AM- 4:30 PM) forwarded directly to Lenae Osmondson.

The Salem Office of the Bishop phone will have a voicemail message recorded directing callers to leave a message, or to call a separate phone number during office hours (8:00 AM- 4:30 PM). The number is 540-855-7455 and will be answered by Tammy Kasper. Messages left on the Salem Office of the Bishop phone will be checked as we are able to do so.

In addition, please do not plan to visit either the Salem or Eastern offices in person. Messages and mail will be checked regularly, but please be patient during this time.