April 20, 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
Accompaniments for Hymns During Easter Season
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 L utheran Church in Roanoke for providing these.)

Hymns for the Easter Season
Holding Remote Meetings via Zoom
For a quick tutorial on holding congregation meetings during this time of COVID-19, click here to download the powerpoint presentation .
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.
8 Tips To Reach More People Through Your Facebook Live Service During COVID19
Tip#1: Invite your church to add the ‘See You First’ setting for your Facebook page – This means that they will see every post you have and will never miss your Facebook Live or Premiere. See how to do this in this post   ‘How To Get Your Facebook Page Posts Seen First All The Time.’
Tip#2: Pre-service hosts – Don’t start your Facebook Stream with a 10 minute countdown. Have two pre-service hosts welcome everyone and have some casual chat before the service starts. They can do shout-outs as people join and engage with questions below.
Tip#3: Ask questions – Get your communicators to ask questions like:
Tell us which suburb you are watching from?
What room of the house are you watching from?
Tell us who are you watching with?
Tip#4  Rostered Ministers, engage with your audience – This is like the previous tip. But as the main communicator you can encourage your congregation to leave a comment to a question you ask.
Tip #5: Share into your Facebook Group. See more here  “12 Of The Best Post Ideas For Your Church’s Facebook Group.”
Tip #6  Email your congregation – Just after the service finishes to tell them that they can watch the replay on Facebook, start a watch party and to share the FB Live/Premiere with their Facebook friends.
Tip#7 Have hosts ready to chat with people – Facebook has given every page to add your welcome team as hosts. Add them and get them to welcome people into the service.
Tip#8 Virtual welcoming – Encourage everyone to welcome each other on the stream who they recognize by commenting.
Stewardship and Financial Resources
Stewardship in Uncertain Times Webinar
On Thursday, April 30 from 10-11 AM , Rev. Mike Ward, Certified Fund Raising Executive and author of Abundance: Creating Cultures of Generosity is offering a one-hour virtual opportunity to explore stewardship in uncertain times. He will share tangible ideas for responding during this crisis and help you put in place the infrastructure to keep generosity flowing to your congregations. Mike will also point out messaging that you should avoid during this time. A portion of the program will be dedicated to questions from participants. This workshop is suggested for pastors, stewardship leaders, council members and others engaged in congregational leadership.

Meeting ID: 943 9586 4520
Password: 455353

Dial by your location
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
    +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
    +1 253 215 8782 US
    +1 301 715 8592 US
    +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
    +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 943 9586 4520
Password: 455353
Payroll Protection Loan Update
For those who have applied: According the the Small Business Association, the current available funding for the Payroll Protection Loans has run out. Since each bank is handling applications in different ways, it is unclear how many existing applications are still being processed by the local bank, but are included in the amount already approved by the SBA. If you have already applied, please contact your bank for updated information on your application and on what you need to do to keep your application active in the event additional funding is made available.

For those who have not yet applied: If you were planning to apply, continue working on your application and move forward with any scheduled council or congregational meetings on the Payroll Protection Loan. Congress is considering allocating additional funds for Payroll Protection Loans, so the opportunity to apply may come again soon. Check with your bank to see if they are still accepting applications. Some banks are continuing to accept applications in case additional funding is allocated by Congress for the Payroll Protection Loans.

If you have questions about Payroll Protection Loans or the CARES Act, Pastor John Wertz, is available for additional conversation. You can contact him at wertz@vasynod.org .
Youth Ministry and Faith Formation
Spark Family Sunday School
Leave the lesson presentation to your friends at Sparkhouse. Each week Sunday school curriculum developer (and former summer camp Arts and Crafts director) Dr. Dawn Rundman and her family will host Family Sunday School. Each episode presents a lesson based on Lectionary readings that families can watch together. The Bible story, illustrations, and other content are based on Spark: Activate Faith Lectionary Sunday school lessons. You are welcome to distribute, post, and reproduce the lesson materials for your church families in whatever way works for you. We’ll post a new lesson every Tuesday for the following Sunday. Lessons will be posted through Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2020.

2020 Sprunt Lectures at Union Presbyterian Seminary
Join us May 5-6 for a free lecture series covering the topic Faith formation with children, youth, and young adults in a multi-religious world.

Contemporary times call for a reframing of congregational ministries with young people. Three scholars working on the cutting edge of research will share their ideas about issues facing children, youth, and young adults and what religious communities can do to address these realities. They will highlight the challenges of race, class, gender, and religious identity for young people growing up in societies fraught by division, as well as the opportunities congregations have to support young people’s spiritual flourishing.

For more information and to register, visit www.upsem.edu/event/2020-sprunt-lectures
Government Information and Programs
FEMA Reimbursement Grants for Emergency Protective Measures
Last week, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management announced that there are FEMA reimbursement grants available for non-profits, including churches, who are providing a direct response to COVID-19. There are a number of requirements that an organization must meet to be eligible for a grant, so it is likely the most of our congregations will not qualify.

If, however, your congregation is working with a local government, health care provider, or a food bank to provide new assistance in response to COVID-19 or if you have substantially modified a previous assistance program, it is possible you could qualify for a 75% reimbursement for supplies already purchased and those purchased until the disaster declaration ends.

The links below will take you to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website on this grant program and to the pre-screening website to help you determine eligibility.
Additional Guidance for Faith Communities from Governor Northram's Office
Governor Northam's Office has now issued two documents to provide specific guidance for faith communities in Virginia who are trying to navigate the impact of COVID-19. The documents provides information on requirements for "Drive-In" worship, addresses concerns about funerals, and comments on unemployment benefits for church workers.
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
Child Safeguarding and Survivor Care during COVID-19
This Saturday, April 25, 3:30 PM: This panel discussion with leaders from Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) will share insights into survivor care and child safeguarding, especially during COVID19 when we know that, for some, home is not the safest place to be. The discussion will be live-streamed on GRACE's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/events/557850678192958
6 Helpful Ideas from Leadership Blogs and Emails
Each week, we receive a flurry of "Leading in a Crisis" emails flooding our inboxes. Here are 6 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.
Ministry Partner Resources
Advocating for the Next Coronavirus Relief Act
The ELCA Advocacy Office has issued an Action Alert related the new supplemental package before Congress to address the economic impacts of COVID-19. The link below will allow you to send a message to your elected representatives regarding the relief package. Once you enter your information, the form will automatically identify your representatives, allow you to add your thoughts and then send the message to the appropriate email addresses.
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 MentalHealthReferral@lfsva.org . We accept several major insurances, Medicaid, and self-pay.
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.