SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA SYNOD | ELCA
Resources for effective church leaders
+ May 6, 2020
Statewide Zoom Call on Food Insecurity and Feeding Ministries
Lutheran Disaster Response - Eastern PA (a ministry of Liberty Lutheran and Lutheran Congregational Services) and Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa) are teaming up this Friday May 8, at 3 pm to host a zoom call for people and congregations who are especially concerned about the most vulnerable in our communities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact it will have on families that live on the margins even after social distancing is relaxed. 

The zoom call will feature
  • Presenters from food pantry ministries
  • Ideas for congregations interested in service projects for people who need hygiene supplies and fabric masks
  • Ways to advocate for people who are most vulnerable
  • Ways to access resources available to helping ministries
  • Time to discuss your concerns and problem solve together.

Communications 'Office Hours' With Bob Fisher

Join the Rev. Bob Fisher and clergy/communications colleagues for learning and sharing Thursday, May 7, 11 am on Zoom. This week we will focus on
  • Your successes and questions about online giving
  • How will your digital experiences shape your congregation's worship and programing once COVID-19 is over?

Of course, your questions are welcomed about any communications, technology, or media subject.

Register in advance for this meeting. You will receive instructions for participating in the Zoom call.
Virtual Interfaith Services for National Day of Prayer May 7
The Pennsylvania Council of Churches is hosting a virtual service, Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself in a Time of Pandemic, on May 7 at 6pm ET. Details are posted on the Council of Churches website.

Religious for Peace USA is also hosting a National Interfaith Prayer Service for Healing & Hope on May 7 at 2pm ET. Zoom registration is available at https://bit.ly/34WKXOy.
Help Churches Challenged in This Crisis

You can help SEPA churches struggling in this difficult time by giving to our new COVID-19 Relief Fund.

And thanks to generous donors, there is still an opportunity to have your dollars doubled for the first $3,000 donated.

Make a difference at https://ministrylink.org/give
When Can We Go Back To Church?

Though it may be some time before Southeastern Pennsylvania counties get the yellow-light to relax stay-at-home orders, now is a good time to start thinking about how your congregation would operate under the Yellow Phase guidelines. Leaders and members will need to balance the advantages of resuming in-person worship against the dangers of increasing spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable people in their church, families, and community. Follow the guidance of public health and government officials, and err on the side of safety.

More food for thought:

There was i nteresting Zoom conversation yesterday in Minneapolis Area Synod with epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm about when it might be safe to worship corporately again. We're in the second inning of a nine-inning game, he said, noting that digital worship and outdoor worship are do-able now. Some areas of the country may go in and out of restrictions as cases wane and then rise again, until there is a vaccine.

Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania shares an essay by Pennsylvania pastor Michael Best: " I want to re-open the economy like everyone else. But I want to re-open it in a way that moves us towards Shalom, towards loving our neighbor. I want to re-open it in a way that we steward creation responsibly. I want to re-open it in a way that lives into the Beatitudes. I want to re-open it in a way that lives into Jesus’ call to care for the poor and the outcast. I want to re-open it in a way that allows us to see the Image of God in each others – regardless of our economic status. I want to re-open it in a way that serves humanity, and in turn contributes to the unfolding of the Kingdom of God. That’s the economy I want to reopen."
The City's Office of Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs and the Department of Public Health have collaborated to design shareable graphics with guidance for faith communities during the Stay-at-Home order. The graphics are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and Vietnamese.

Grief and COVID-19
Last week, Philadelphia's Mayor's Office for Public Engagement hosted "A Time to Grieve: A Conversation about Living Through and Beyond the Losses of COVID-19."  Nearly 300 people joined this well received discussion with faith, civic, and healthcare leaders about the complicated grief our city is experiencing as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. If you missed it, watch the recording here.

There’s more to talk about! Join "Shades of Blue: Making Room to Unravel During COVD-19" on Wednesday, May 20, at 11am. We’ll focus on tangible nourishment practices that will help us work with and through our individual and collective “shades of blue”. If you’d like to register now, go here. We’ll send you the Zoom link to participate the day before the webinar.

Virtual Grief Groups

The Uplift Center for Grieving Children is offering virtual support groups during COVID-19. Visit  this link  for more information.
 
A national network of widows, the  W Connection , has also moved to online meetings. Contact Susan Gross at  as45@comcast.net   for information about the local group.

The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services offers support groups specifically for people who have lost a loved one to suicide. The groups are led by trained facilitators who have also survived the loss of a loved one to suicide (peer-to-peer support).  Please click here   for more information.

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