SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA SYNOD | ELCA
Resources for effective church leaders + March 20, 2020
Bishop Davenport and the Synod staff continue to hold you in prayer in this time of uncertainty, disrupted worship, and physical distancing. Stay connected. Stay healthy. Be encouraged.

The following recent info may be helpful to you as you serve as the church dispersed.
PA: No In-person Worship or Gatherings

Governor Wolf’s revised order calls for the closing of all non-life-essential organizations effective March 19, until further notice. In Philadelphia, gatherings greater than 250 people are restricted, and the city recommends that church gatherings with more than 10 persons should not be held, especially if the church serves a vulnerable population.

We have a list of congregations streaming worship services on our website at https://ministrylink.org/congregational-vitality/church-live-streams/ .

#WeAreChurch - Resourcing One Another

Rachel Gucwa, who leads The Welcome Church’s “Welcome Art” program, has created a coloring book to help parents explain the crisis to their children. Download it at https://ministrylink.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/IN-THIS-TOGETHER-book-form.pdf .

We have a collection of technology, faith formation, and finance resources at https://ministrylink.org/virtualchurch .

LWF Urges Churches to “Promote and Protect Life”

As restrictions to contain the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak spread to countries around the globe, Lutheran World Federation (LWF) leaders have written to all member churches reflecting on how new approaches are needed to gather for worship while maintaining the necessary distance to contain the outbreak.

In the 19 March letter, LWF President Archbishop Dr Panti Filibus Musa and General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge, stress the importance of supporting and complying with local government laws and regulations that “promote and protect life.” Churches, they say, are called to set an example of “responsible adherence to public policies” and, at times, “even push local and national governments to heighten restrictions on movement and gatherings in order to protect the most vulnerable and the elderly.”

As Lutherans, the letter continues, “we profess that we are liberated by God’s grace through faith” and so are “free from religious compulsion.” In times of a global pandemic therefore, the two leaders say, “not to gather in one place for worship is an expression of compassion and solidarity. It does not diminish our worship but embodies worship in a new way. It doesn’t make us to be less the church, but fully the church. This is the paradox of compassion that comes with the current pandemic of COVID-19.”


COVID-19 Resources from LSA

Lutheran Services in America has compiled COVID-19 resources on our website, and we are updating these resources regularly. Below is the link to the  Mission Leaders COVID-19 resource page , with specific information you may find helpful as you navigate these challenging times.

Ambo TV Offers Free Live Stream Hosting

During the Coronavirus crisis, Ambo TV (ambotv.com) is offering churches free hosting for their live streams. This includes creating a separate page on our website for each church, setting them up to Livestream or broadcast sermons online, and providing a way to collect donations online that go directly to your church. Again, this service is  completely FREE .

If your congregation is interested in having Ambo TV host your church on our platform,  please complete the form by clicking on this link:  https://forms.gle/hYJbhDXnQ6zvDdFq7 . There are minimum technical requirements that will be assessed after submitting the form.

Ambo TV is a Christian Network that provides quality and thoughtful Christian programming in a non-denominational and multicultural manner.  Pastor Joe Watkins, pastor of Christ Lutheran, 30 th and Diamond, is Ambo TV’s chief development officer.

Coronavirus Updates from the City of Philadelphia

Guidance for Faith-based Organizations
For updated information and guidance from the  Philadelphia Department of Public Health , visit  www.phila.gov/COVID-19 . There is a  section specifically dedicated to businesses and nonprofits.

Keep Up-To-Date With Text Alerts
To receive COVID-19 alerts from the City of Philadelphia, text  COVIDPHL  to  888-777 . We encourage all Philadelphians to sign up for this free informational text. We also encourage you to recommend that your members sign-up. Please understand that this is a rapidly evolving situation so information and guidance will change daily, and that the most important considerations are to flatten the curve and to protect those that are most vulnerable.

COVID-19 Medical Helpline
The  Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline  can be reached by calling  1-800-722-7112 . The Helpline is free and available 24/7 as a resource for anyone in the Greater Philadelphia area, including public and healthcare providers, to answer all questions about COVID-19. This helpline is staffed my medical experts. Additional information on the helpline is available  here Please use this helpline or refer your congregants or community members to this line ONLY if you or they have a medical concern related to COVID-19.

Mental Health and Addiction Services
The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual and disability Services is providing support to anyone needing  mental health or addiction counseling
 
Are You In A Position To Help?
For volunteers that want to provide help, you should:
1.  Go to the Mayor’s Volunteer Corps portal and create an account.  https://serve.volunteermatch.org/ . You’ll need to provide an email address. 
2.  Select an opportunity and sign up to attend. 
3.  After completing the volunteer activity, record your hours on the Mayor’s Volunteer Corps portal.
4.  Our staff will provide additional support. You can reach out to our staff. Please contact Bernicia.guercio@phila.gov  or  Deise.rodrigues@phila.gov  with any questions  

How Mission Support Adds Vitality To Congregations

Learn how synods and congregations are discovering  How Mission Support Adds Vitality to Congregational Life .  Watch these videos from last weekend’s StewardCast 2020 hosted by ELCA Stewardship. The first link is the complete 70-minute event. The following links are individual presentations. You can also download the videos to watch offline.
 
Stewardcast 2020
 
Stewardcast 2020 – Nick Kiger – Mission Support
 
Stewardcast 2020 – Faith Simonieg - WND
 
Stewardcast 2020 – Rob James – Congregational Vitality Team
 
Stewardcast 2020 – Danielle Denise – North Carolina
 
Stewardcast 2020 – Dana Dutcher – Global Mission
Thank you
for taking the time to read this edition of MinistryLink.  Tell fellow church members and colleagues to subscribe by clicking here.

The Rev. Bob Fisher, assistant to the bishop for mission interpretation/communications
rfisher@sepa.org  / 267.323.3743