Although we won't be able to enjoy packed-full sanctuaries on Christmas Eve, there are a variety of ways to gather safely and to celebrate the coming of Jesus. Twin Cities District pastors recently shared some ideas with each other, and they are so creative that we want to lift some of them up to the whole conference:
This video from the North Carolina Conference "is designed to be used with your church’s leadership team and those who help make decisions about worship gatherings over the next few weeks and months. Dr. Wallace gives a brief overview of the science behind the coronavirus and why practices like wearing masks and physical distancing make a difference and then moves into a discussion of the risks and considerations associated with various types of worship gatherings your church may be thinking about. We encourage you to watch the video and have some discussion with your teams as you prayerfully consider how you will gather as faith communities."
Zoomed out? Tired of technology? Can't stand to look at a screen for one more minute? We get it. This Advent, go back in time and engage with ancient spiritual practices designed to help you find more hope, peace, joy and love in your life. Adventus: Ancient Practices for an Advent at Home - the latest resource from the WNCC Resource Center - includes five lessons: one for each week of Advent plus an extra lesson for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Several churches across the conference have started house church networks since the onset of the pandemic and countless more are beginning to experiment with them in the coming months as the weather gets colder and outdoor worship gets harder. In this episode Luke Edwards sits down with Rev. Sam Burleson and Amy Cochran of Salem UMC in Bostic. We hear about the house church network that arose this year at their church and some of the lessons they’ve learned so far.
Living through a pandemic is very much a wilderness experience, and for the past eight months, pastors have been called upon to help their communities navigate the pain and loss of this season. Clergy, like Moses, are holding space for the people around them as the world dreams of life on the other side. But who’s holding space for clergy? Where are pastors finding manna in this pandemic wilderness? This Advent, the NCC Center for Leadership Excellence and the Rev. Lisa Yebuah will host a 3-session soul-tending platform for pastors to name and even grieve the realities of clergy life during these stressful times, while also acquiring spiritual practices to buoy their hope.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued and more churches shifted to or increased their digital ministry, United Methodist Communications began developing a series of Local Church Learning Sessions. All have been developed specifically to support local United Methodist churches during this extraordinary time. New sessions will be added here as they are produced..
As we approach All Saints Day, we want to pause to remember the Saints we’ve lost this year in our churches, in our communities and in our world. The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives including death, dying and how we celebrate life and find ways grieve together. How do we balance sacred and safety in our rites surrounding death? Melissa McGill talks with Kay Morrison-Sanders, a cemetery bereavement counselor and lay member of St. Mark’s United Methodist in Charlotte and the Rev. Carter Ferguson, who pastors Prospect UMC in Archdale and Pleasant Hill UMC in Thomasville.
We scanned the internet for resources that will be of interest and value to you and your ministries. This week's roundup includes: Discipleship Ministries 2021 Revised Common Lectionary Calendar, Illustrated Ministries pre-recordable, Zoom-able Virtual Christmas Pageant, best ways to distribute weekly bulletins to your congregation, and more.
The Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program is a new statewide initiative that may provide rent and utility assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the economic effects of COVID-19. The new program will help prevent evictions and utility disconnections in order to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic.
The United Methodist Rural Advocates would like to offer some help to churches who are struggling with worship in these tumultuous times. As churches decide to move back to indoor worship it is important that this decision be arrived at with much prayer and interactive planning. The virus is serious, as is the need for gathering as the body of Christ. Safety must be of utmost concern as we endeavor to do no harm, do good and stay in love with God. Our hope is to offer at the very least hope and acknowledgement that you are not alone. Here is some of the collected wisdom, as well as some advice from rural pastors.