VOLUME 1 | OCTOBER 2020
Monthly News & Updates
The Executive Council of KACP would like to hear from you and receive your feedback on the newsletter. The goal is for each member to stay connected and informed. Each month we will share relevant information in Ministry Trends and Best Practices, Current Events, Social Action, Health and Wellness and much more. You can also visit the KACP website or the app to access.
BISHOP'S CORNER
Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr.
We are fast approaching a moment that will define our country and our cause for centuries to come. Though we have ignored it, our nation is not among the oldest nations in this world. We are the youngest in this thing called organized government. It was 1789 when we cut ties with England and its government system and gave the world a glimpse of what our nation would resemble. For 231 years, we have worked to perfect this experiment, our form of democracy, but now there is a real chance that this experiment's funding may be pulled. As citizens believing and working for the results, this democracy offers and claims to bring to pass are the funding source for this experiment in government. We are the funding in our willingness to keep working together toward the promise of a
more excellent union. Yet this source of our continued efforts is in jeopardy. There is little agreement on what experiment we want to continue. Some want a nation led by the privileged who grant and confer privileges to a certain few. Some want doors of opportunity opened and equitable distribution of the things others hold so very dear. Still, others are hunkered down in their silos, determined to end this experiment and start a new one. Never before have I seen this happen. That does not mean it hasn't; it means few if any of us have seen our nation seemingly ready to back away from the longest lasting experiment we have undertaken in this country.

We as a people have yet to enjoy all of the promises that democracy has made. We have yet to know and enjoy without encumbrance, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." However, no system yet employed offers a greater chance of bringing these cherished rights and freedoms into existence in our lifetime. It may often seem to some that their vote did not count, but those votes did count. They have kept the system going so that we can weather whatever happens in this time of crisis.

I use this space today to encourage you to make this crisis a priority. So much of what we enjoy and hope to enjoy hangs in the balance. If ever we needed to make sure everyone votes and that every vote is counted, that time is now. There will be challenges to our right to vote and the process's integrity, but we cannot afford to be discouraged or fail to address this most critical topic.  I believe that God has called us to the kingdom for such a time as this. Though we are in the thralls of a pandemic, we will receive the grace needed, and courage sought to make our way to the polls or ballot boxes to cast our vote. I encourage you to lead those with whom you have influence in this most godly effort, this most prophetic witness. Thousands have given their lives for us to be the voices that speak long and speak loud. As Rev. Jesse Jackson said, "Hands that picked cotton will now pick presidents." We have been on a march to the Promised Land, the land of opportunity and equality, the land of sustained hope, and manifest accomplishments. 

There will be work for us to do after this election season, but we cannot leave the decisions about our future to others. We must step forward and express our understanding of the meaning of our faith in the choices we make at the polls. We face stark contrast in visions for this country and in the extension of the experiment of democracy as we have known it. The choices are being laid out before us each day. We must interpret them as they line up with our understanding of the ministry of Jesus. We follow him and take our cue from him. We vote with him in mind. When we do, we hasten the coming of the kingdom; God's will done on earth as it is in heaven. The world is waiting for our decision as a country, a city, a state, and a nation. It is waiting to see the triumph of the will of God, the concern for others, and the triumph of good over evil. 

There were so many things charging through my spirit as I sat to write to you this month, but this topic quickly rose to the top because it is the most pressing issue of our times.
PANDEMIC TOOLKIT
Bishop Lisa M. Weah
A Powerful Prerequisite for Social Transformation

Upon releasing his book, Simple Church, author Thom Rainer received an email from a pastor who was profoundly impacted by reading a book that illuminated how we have replaced true disciple making with church activities. The realization that we have become so busy adding things to do, that we have neglected seeing if lives are really being changed, invoked a recommitment to leading a congregation that understands what the church is really supposed to be doing. https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Church-Returning-Process-Disciples/dp/0805447997/ref=nodl_
Likewise, our present persisting pandemic offers an opportunity to reexamine our ministry praxis, programs, and preaching in ways we otherwise would not have done. The cessation of ‘normal’ ministry activities calls us to carefully consider our calling to, “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples…” https://www.bible.com/bible/392/mat.28.19.cev
 
Our closed doors have exposed an ecclesiastical underemphasis on the relationship building, both within and beyond the walls, that makes and matures disciples. But the body of Christ is, indeed, divinely postured in our present social climate of distance and division, to lead an urgent shift from apathy - to empathy, a powerful prerequisite for social transformation.
In an article entitled, “Six Habits of Highly Empathic People,” Roman Krznaric asserts:
“The 21st century should become the Age of Empathy…We need empathy to create a new kind of revolution…a radical revolution in human relationships. We can use [empathy] as a radical force for social transformation.”

Differing from sympathy, empathy is more than ‘feeling for’ someone, but rather ‘feeling with’ someone through the use of our imagination. Empathy is at the heart of Jesus’ response to the Pharisees who asked him which was the most important commandment in Matthew 22:36-39:
““Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?” Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.”” (https://www.bible.com/bible/392/mat.22.36-39.cev)
And the enormity of all that is occurring across the landscape of our country has, indeed, exposed an absence of empathy in a nation built upon the bloodied black backs of enslaved human beings. As police officers lynch our people on camera; citizens plan to overtake capitals and kidnap public officials as if they are playing a video game; suicides increase and millions of Americans face unemployment and loss of healthcare; hundreds of thousands lie in sick beds; vaccines are touted as political tools; and freedom of speech and public protest are vilified instead of embraced as an opportunity for understanding, an inroad for the recognition of human dignity, and a set up for urgent social improvement, we are indeed witnessing the exposure of a lack of empathy. 
Thus empathy, an essential element of Emotional Intelligence, is a powerful prerequisite for social transformation. But it is easier to tout ‘law and order’ over understanding, because the former does not require emotional intelligence. It is easier to ignore another’s hurt, pain and outrage than to attempt to gain understanding, because the former does not require emotional intelligence. It is easier to state, ‘it is what it is’ to the hundreds of thousands of lives lost to an avoidable pandemic, than to repent and take responsibility, because the former does not require any measure of emotional intelligence.
Therefore, I offer the three components of empathy, in which, the body of Christ can lead as inroads to social transformation:
1.     Cognitive Empathy is the ability to put yourself into another’s place, and see their perspective;
2.     Emotional Empathy is the ability to feel another’s emotions alongside them, as if you have ‘caught’ his/her emotions; and
3.     Compassionate Empathy is the ability to let those feelings and perspectives guide your active response. (https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/empathy-types.html)

Restoring the soul of our nation begins before and beyond the polls, but it begins with the body of Christ recognizing and responding to the clarion call to lead an urgent shift from apathy to empathy, a powerful prerequisite for social transformation. “You want to make America great again? Make racism wrong again!” ― Oliver Markus Malloy, How to Defeat the Trump Cult ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44292478-how-to-defeat-the-trump-cult)
MENTAL HEALTH

Take A Stand

There are times when we have done our best and it has not been received or appreciated. It may be a work project that was done on time but not acknowledged. It may be the time you covered the rent for a family member but whenever you are in need they are not able to help. Maybe it is when a loved one became ill and had limited resources so you had to step in and take the role of caregiver, financier and taxi. Whatever challenges you may face, there are times when you must take a stand. We have seen how this plays out in the culture and sometimes in the church. We often wait until things become unmanageable before we begin setting limits and expectations with our loved ones, coworkers and colleagues.
Dr. Carla J. Debnam
Being proactive and not reactive is a key strategy when goals are not met or standards have been lowered. Ensuring that our needs and expectations are communicated to those around us is crucial. We cannot hold persons accountable who are not in line with our vision, mission or more importantly the Word of God, when we have not conveyed the message to them.

Taking a stand is more important now than ever because we have seen the chaos engulf our communities. Racism, unjust policing, violence, a public health crisis and political turmoil have pushed many of us to our limits. This is when we must take a stand. We have to proclaim our message of hope with practical application and compassion. People are looking for the Church to take a stand on social justice, healthcare, housing, education, employment and many more concerns. If you believe that the church should stay in its lane, look at Matthew 25. Jesus was concerned about people and their circumstances not only their souls. Taking a stand is sometimes uncomfortable and takes courage but it is something we are called to do. 

Joshua was challenged by God to be strong and courageous and lead Israel to the Promised Land. Esther was challenged to speak to the king on behalf of her people. Joseph was put in position to save many lives including his family. Paul was called to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles. Each of us will be called to take a stand for ourselves or for others. Doing the right thing may not be popular but as the saying goes “if you do not stand for something you will fall for anything.” Now is the time to take a stand; you, your family
BEST PRACTICES
Dr. Lewis N. Watson
Funeral Planning During a Pandemic

During these unprecedented times, we are faced with a new normal, which has forced us to carry out memorials and celebration of life services unlike any time in our history.  At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many funeral directors received conflicting guidance resulting in a number of services in which the deceased could not be viewed, as per our custom, and the number of attendees was limited to 10 or fewer.  Understandably, such services were tremendously hard on a family already dealing with the untimely death of a loved one.  As guidance was clarified and we gained a better understanding of the Coronavirus, we employed three Ps – Polices, Practices and Procedures to ensure the health and safety of our staff, bereaved family and friends while providing dignified service and comfort to a grieving family who entrusted us with their loved one.   
Recommended Policies, Practices and Procedures for Pastors

·      Establish a policy within your own context that will be conducive to your specific infrastructure;
·      Adhere to CDC guidelines relative to the maximum capacity of your church and/or context;
·      Take temperatures prior to attendees entering the building.  If attendee exhibits COVID-19 symptoms and/or high temperature, a health official should be in place to provide guidance to the individual to ensure the safety of everyone;
·      Maintain a record of the attendees, who sign a Precautionary COVID-19 Release Form, which limits liability and asserts that the individual does not have COVID-19 symptoms;
·      Ensure sanitation stations are in place - used when entering and exiting the facility;
·      Ensure sanitizer is in place for use prior to signing the guest registry;  
·      Employ an electronic guest book, if financially able to do so;
·      Ensure attendees, clergy, and staff are at least six feet apart from one another at all times, except for attendees who are a part of the same household;
·      Identify a designated person(s) to sanitize microphones and podiums following each use; 
·      Employ bathroom attendants to sanitize bathrooms after each use; 
·      Cordon off unused spaces to maintain control of movement; 
·      Identify a controlled area for services;
·      Limit funeral service to one hour or less;
·      Allot proper time between services and events (no less than one hour or time needed to ensure proper sanitation);
·      Utilize current staff or hire an outside sanitation company (unless this expense is included in the church budget, the additional cost could be absorbed by the family)
·      Secure equipment associated with sanitizing (i.e. Electrostatic sprayer, disinfectant, etc.) obtained from wholesale distributors.

As recommended by Bishop Walter Scott Thomas, when calculating the number of attendees, count the number of seats and divide by eight.  For example, 600 seats divided by eight results in 75 attendees maximum.  

During the initial arrangement process, provide the family with a pamphlet that includes the policies, practices, and procedures, along with the funeral costs.  Be sure to adhere to your state guidelines.  While some states allow different occupancy percentages, safe distancing must be your number one priority.  Revisit policies, practices and procedures subject to changes in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PRECAUTIONARY COVID RELEASE FORM LINK BELOW:

LEADERSHIP LESSONS
Dr. Ronald C. Williams

The Imposter Principle: Leading in a World of Incessant Surprises

Surprise is categorized as one of the briefest emotions depending on the theorist one choses to reference. It is the mental state of initial awareness stimulated by unexpected events. Surprises may be more specifically characterized as welcomed or unwelcomed events that evoke a long list of emotional responses. The one reality we may all agree on is that life is filled with the unexpected and one’s experience is often shaped by how we face and navigate unexpected circumstances.
I learned an important principle through one of my favorite literary works. One of the truths expressed by English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling in his classic “If” aligns with biblical and theological principles worth sharing with those facing a series of pleasant and not so pleasant surprises. In the philosophical tradition of Hellenistic Stoicism, the work posits that the path to blessedness is found in accepting life’s moments as they present themselves. What makes Kipling’s statement so profound and compatible with biblical leadership tenets is the way the writer places life’s surprises in a practical context. In the third and fourth lines on the second stanza, Kipling makes the conditional declaration “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same” as a precondition for last two lines of the poem, “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”

God provides similar assurances for those who have encountered the unexpected. Regardless of the emotion of the moment, we are to trust the immutable character of our God enough to face all moments with the reassuring gift of faith. Christian author Rachel Wojo offers specific guidance for those struggling to put life’s surprises into the proper, Christ-centered context. She suggests that we:

1. God knows the best place for me in this moment.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5

2. God will provide His strength to get me through this situation.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 46:1-3

3. God will hear me when I pray to Him.
In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Psalm 18:6

4. God has worked wonders in the past and will do it again.
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. Psalm 77:11&14

5. God has a plan for everything that happens in our lives.
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23
Victory comes when we lead others to “…meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same.”
 
TIPS FOR THE TIMES
Virtual Meetings and Church Compliance: What does the law allow?
 
The world has changed but effective oversight of administrative responsibilities remains requisite for those leading the church. Many pastors, officers, and church leaders are struggling to answer questions like: 
 
·        How will members know the date, time, and virtual location of meetings? 
·        How will we know that a quorum is present at the beginning of the meeting and through the duration of the meeting? 
·        How will the parliamentarian communicate with the presiding officer during the meeting?
 
The first step to answering these questions and others is an appointment with your legal counsel. However, it is important to be able to ask relevant questions in an informed manner. Sarah E. Merkle, J.D., CPP-T, PRP created an informative platform with webinars and resources to assist you in “getting up to speed.” Your Complete Guide to Virtual Church Meetings: A toolkit for legal and compliant business meetings is a great resource for those seeking to remain compliant. The 30 pages include the following information and resources:
 
·        Organizational Governance https://virtualmeetinglaw.com/
Navigating the Landscape of Laws, Documents, and Rules 
Resource 1 Organizational Governance Hierarchy 

·        Business Meeting Basics 
Understanding the Essence of a Deliberative Assembly and a Compliant Church Business Meeting
 
·        Are Virtual Business Meetings Legal? 
Determining Whether the Law and Your Governing Documents Allow a Virtual Church Business Meeting 
Resource 2 Links to State Statutes 
Resource 3 Virtual Meeting Decision Tree 

·        Virtual Church Business Meetings 101 
Holding a Compliant Virtual Church Business Meeting 
Resource 4 Special Rules Checklist for Virtual Church Business Meetings 

·        Church Business Meetings During Crisis 
Triaging When a Compliant Virtual Business Meeting Is Not Possible
 
As we conquer the challenges of Covid-19-driven circumstances, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
 
PASTOR'S READS
Be Empowered in the Face of Change
Change your mindset to change for the better. These are challenging times. Chances are, at this moment, you’re confronting some change you never asked for―perhaps a life crisis, like a loss of job or the failure of a dream. Maybe you have to learn to work in new ways or find a new place to live. Bestselling author, thought leader, and change expert M.J. Ryan is here to help. Within the pages of her book How to Survive Change . . . You Didn't Ask For, you’ll find the support and practices you need to successfully ride the wave of this change, whatever it may be.
According to award-winning journalist and historian Colin Woodard, North America is made up of eleven distinct nations, each with its own unique historical roots. In American Nations he takes readers on a journey through the history of our fractured continent, offering a revolutionary and revelatory take on American identity, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and continue to mold our future. From the Deep South to the Far West, to Yankeedom to El Norte, Woodard (author of American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good) reveals how each region continues to uphold its distinguishing ideals and identities today, with results that can be seen in the composition of the U.S. Congress or on the county-by-county election maps of this year's Trump versus Clinton presidential election.
A Note from the Managing Editor
Dr. Ronald C. Williams
Information and communication are the lifeblood of decisive action. It is with this understanding that the Kingdom Association of Covenant Pastors offers the KACP Newsletter as a conduit for information that will provide valuable support for every aspect of pastoral life. The newsletter is provided as a reflection of the values our fellowship has upheld since its inception--a commitment "to the call to preach, to lead, to care, to build, and to better the body of Christ." In addition, "We do this with the understanding that our vocation has its share of personal and professional challenges and the awareness of the need to encourage, assist, edify, and celebrate one another in kingdom work."
Please join us as we share information on relevant topics of the day. Since our desire is to encourage and edify, we welcome input and ideas that are consistent with our mission. If you have a desire to submit an article for consideration, please use the Contributing Authors Application through the link provided and read the Authors Submission Guidelines for further information. All applications and articles are subject to approval by our editorial review board. Submit inquiries to Renita Fulton at rfulton@kingdomassociation.org.

We are exited about your engagement and look forward to sharing valuable information as you share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Help Voters Vote!

"Information is power" is more than just a catchphrase. People need real-time information and assistance. Once we know the process, and what we know may change daily, it is incumbent for us to assist others in execution. It requires a mobilization unlike we have witnessed. Help them stand up and be counted. Remember, Democracy Works if you work it.