American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

ABCOPAD Clergy [COVID-19] Conversation
March 26, 2020

 

Moderators: Pastor Rob Rice (Regional Associate for LLC) Rice/Pastor Chris Davis (President, Ministers Council)

A collection of thoughts and comments [nearly 40 leaders online], recorded by Jeffrey Johnson.


ONLINE WORSHIP

  • Don’t forget you canNOT broadcast pre-recorded professional videos (like music videos) online. It is one thing to do in the sanctuary for your own people with a CCLI license, but that doesn’t cover recording and then posting online.
  • You can purchase an additional rider/copyright license for this very purpose for about $50. Check with the company that offers your present in-house license
  • Have used YouTube for a while to share audio recordings of her worship services. Margie records on a portable voice device, then using Movie Maker software, converts the audio file to video. She then uploads the video file to YouTube (John/Margie McCarty (FBC, Carbondale)
  • It should be noted, that many seniors (grandparents age group) are using Facebook thus why younger people don’t want to anymore BUT even though they can be online, they don’t want to
  • You can livestream on youtube and on Facebook but you CANNOT have people link simultaneously between the two, either way.

PARKING LOT GATHERING

  • Two churches, Walk Chalk Salem and Aldenville are using this now and especially for Easter; other churches are considering
  • AM signals go further and are stronger, but not all cars have AM radios anymore
  • The kits can be purchased on either ebay.com or amazon.com. The cost is about $150 and include the portable mic, the router/sync box, and a small antenna. It can be synced with the church’s existing, external sound system to provide a stronger, louder audio. These are samples only, NOT recommendations. Can be purchased at amazon.com or ebay.com for between $100-$150

PASTORAL CARE

  • Pastor Lumi of FBC, Lancaster has broken her congregation into three churches … 1. phone only access 2. phone and email access, 3. phone, email, and social media access. (1) For those in our church who only have phone access, most shut-ins, I am doing pastoral care over the phone. I am calling them and checking on them and praying with them over the phone. (2) For those who have email but do not use social media, I have been sending emails with encouraging verses, short messages, and prayers. They have responded overwhelmingly and were very grateful to receive encouraging emails. (3) For those active on social media, last week I began to record short videos and written messages and posted them on our FBC Facebook page and FBC YouTube. We also opened an FBC Lancaster Prays page for people to post prayer requests.
  • Some churches are pairing people up to check in and check on one another by the telephone. One church is also pairing one youth with one senior saint, especially since young people are off from school and always on their phones

SPECIAL THOUGHT: We want to be forward thinking, coming up with ideas we can use right now that will expire in their use when this health crisis is over but also think of things like streaming that can continue afer things are back to normal, whatever that new normal will be.

HOLY WEEK

  • Palm Sunday worship will take place at 10:30 AM on April 5, either in our homes or gathered in our sanctuary. That decision will be made next week (Kelly Legg)
  • Preparing a Holy Week guide that will walk us through the week together. It will contain suggested Scripture readings tied to that day's events, prayer prompts, and discussion questions. There will also be short video devotions prepared by members of our congregation. All of this will come daily via email. (Kelly Legg)
  • Maundy Thursday worship will take place in our homes on April 9. We are designing a prayer guide that will invite all of us to engage our senses in interactive prayer stations. You will receive an email with the guide and links to short videos that help explain the 'why' behind the 'what.'
  • Maundy Thursday, people will use their own in-house, adhoc elements; bread and juice while other churches will deliver to doorsteps pre-made wafer/cups and then link everyone up together via Zoom [It was commented that this health crisis will likely change we distribute elements in the church when we return to the sanctuary]
  • Easter Sunrise worship is presently scheduled for 6 AM outside on April 12. We will encourage participants to observe good social distancing practices as we celebrate our resurrected Savior who is resurrecting us! We will evaluate the situation that week and provide a definitive answer as to whether the service can continue beforehand. There will be no breakfast following
  • Consideration is being given to holding OUTDOOR SonRise services as long as social distancing is observed and obeyed
  • 10:30 AM Easter worship will take place either in-person in our sanctuary or in our homes on April 12. Again, that decision will be made during Holy Week and communicated via email, our website, and Facebook.

PASTORAL & SOCIAL ETHICS

  • Ethics about all of this. The question was asked, even though we technically “can” gather (as PA churches were exempted from the Governor’s decree to shelter and shutter) SHOULD churches gather in person; the whole church or even groups and pockets of people to conduct worship or convene small groups? -Response: It was shared that we would do well to ‘obey’ the powers that be (Romans 13) as long as they are not asking us to do anything immoral, heretical, or illegal. This is where ‘freedom in Christ’ can be exercised where we can do something but don’t for the sake of the witness. This, among other things can be a teaching moment. It was also shared that there is already enough things being put out there and likely more to come, thus why we would do well not to add to that conflicting/contradictory content by some doing, some not. It would seem to be most respectable and most God-honoring to abide by what is being asked of others. Special Mention: Maybe the threshold will be, “when school are reopened, our churches can be too”, though it was noted that for some they have been told they will be out through April and even others will be out for the rest of the year; though the latter was outside our region.

Special Mention: There is Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ttdtuis/ “Things They Didn’t Teach Us In Seminary” . It is a closed group so you have to ask to participate. It is open to ONLY those who have graduated from an accredited seminary. (Paul Aliello)

CHURCH OFFICE HOURS

  • Some pastors are working totally from home. Some are working from their church offices. Some are doing a combination of both, but none are in actually engagement with people coming in though them coming as needed . Some have their office administrators onsite and they refer names and needs to pastors as their congregants that reach out to make contact

ONLINE STEWARDSHIP

  • Some are sending packets to the homes with worship materials along with goes an addressed envelope to send back to the church with their giving
  • One sent out actually giving slips as a reminder, to be returned to the church.
  • Be sure to lift up when emphasizing the need to give that ministry continues even though we are not collectively meeting.

KIDS' MINISTRY (forget not the children)

  • A pastor friend) is reading a book online using Facebook Live; every night at 7pm; not long but must be consistent because kids come to expect it (CG Coats, Lower Providence)
  • Suggestion: Include a children’s lesson/message in what you do online, in print, if nothing else nor for any other reason to show their importance and that ‘they matter’/’I see you’ 

CHURCH DISTRIBUTED/DEPLOYED

  • This is giving people in the church an opportunity to connect with one another who normally haven’t or wouldn’t. People sharing online their faith, scriptures. People are open to spiritual things right now so we should seize the opportunities.
  • Connections look different where you are located; urban, suburb, small town, and rural. Contextualize how you do things; even in one community where everyone goes to the post office, no home delivery, church members are delivering others’ mail; being able to check on one another (Chris Davis, Liberty, Blanchard)
  • Started a Quiet Quarantiners Facebook group for those who want to try to express thanksgiving or their thoughts on particular topics...trust, resurrection, revival, acceptance, etc. They respond with art, music, poetry, etc. We share our work each day. (Chuck and Ruth Fox, FBC, Pgh)
  • It’s important for church people to see church people; so (Tim Munson, FBC York) is offering four online sessions for people to log on and see each other; where someone shares a devotional and then people share with each other
  • Many of our churches are doubtless non-liturgical, but a friend’s church (grew up at this church) who livestreams both morning and evening prayers from the Book of Common Prayer each day. A staff member from his church also livestreams devotions each morning. Both of those are new for them since the quarantine set in. Perhaps that concept could be adapted, even if we don't use the exact material. (Scott Jones, Worthington)


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ABCOPAD Online Clergy Conversation 03.26.2020.pdf