Resources for congregations in a time of pandemic
For the latest general resources and recommendations on the coronavirus COVID-19, go to this page from Brethren Disaster Ministries.
Resources in English - Español - Kreyòl - Français - ASL
Letter to youth advisors (from Youth and Young Adult Ministries)
Online giving options (from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center)
If you are an employee of a Church of the Brethren congregation, district, or church camp and are being adversely impacted financially by the coronavirus, BBT may be able to help. Call 847-622-3391.
Free study and worship resources
Brethren Press wants to make it as easy as possible for your congregation to study and worship together—even from afar. Each week during this outbreak, our web store will be updated with free resources to help people in your church stay connected. Other free worship resources are found at www.brethren.org/resources/worship.html and the Anabaptist Worship Exchange.
The Ministry Office is inviting pastors and other congregational leaders to share creative online worship service resources that could be used by others across the denomination during this unusual season in the church’s life.
Worship resources may be submitted at www.brethren.org/shareresources.
The submitted resources and ideas will be reviewed by staff of the Ministry Office and posted to download from www.brethren.org/holyweekresources.
A denominational love feast worship service will be offered on Thursday, April 9, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time) with leadership from across the Church of the Brethren. The service will be live-streamed, and also will be available as a recording after that date. More information to come. Connect at www.brethren.org/lovefeast2020
Free webinars to help churches through this crisis
Every Wednesday from noon-1:30 p.m. (Eastern time)
Zoom meeting for ministering persons to connect with and support one another
Given the rapidly changing guidelines and restrictions being used to control the spread of illness, many ministering people have found themselves needing to quickly change the way they do ministry. For that reason the Pastoral Care Team at Bethany Theological Seminary is scheduling this place for pastors and ministering persons to chat about how they are doing, how their ministry is evolving under current social restrictions, and to share prayer and ideas. We will continue to meet weekly until there is no longer need or interest.
Starting at 11:30, the Zoom will be open and we will have our tech person present to answer any questions you may have about using the Zoom platform. While Ryan does not have expertise in using Zoom for worship, he can answer questions about the basic functions, like chat boxes, sharing screens, etc.
Leading in a Time of Crisis
When: Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 12:00 Pacific / 2:00 PM Central / 3:00 PM Eastern Time
The webinar will be duplicated on the evening of Tuesday, April 21.
In times like these, it is crucial that leaders remain calm under pressure, make the right decisions, and then effectively implement those decisions.
What can leaders do when uncertainty lies at the heart of the COVID-19 crisis? The webinar will identify how people can feel overwhelmed, help people gain resilience, and the importance of making virtual social connections viable.
One-hour free webinar.
Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Ethical use of music resources
While many congregations have purchased hymnals and the music for worship, owning these materials does not guarantee permission to stream the performance of that music to a wider audience. Even printing the words in a handout or posting them on a screen requires permission, unless the materials are in the public domain. There are FAQs available on appropriate use of hymnals and resources published by Brethren Press.
This is important as our congregation ethics polity asks that congregations seek permissions when using resources and music.
Thankfully, this is an easy issue to resolve. There are two main providers for permissions to use music in worship: OneLicense and CCLI provide permissions to reprint and other streaming licensing. Both service providers have two different licensing products—one just for reprinting permissions and another that includes streaming rights.
Both these services, and any effort to reach composers, authors, or publishers for resources not covered by OneLicense or CCLI, assure that the work is compensated.
From now through April 15, OneLicense is offering a gratis license to churches to help cope with COVID-19 challenges.
For music and resources found in Hymnal: A Worship Book, congregations may use anything in the public domain or anything that fits into the categories outlined in the first paragraph on page 862. The same goes for Hymnal Supplement (refer to the acknowledgments section in the front of the hymnal). Obtaining a license from OneLicense or CCLI will cover most of the remaining hymns. If you have questions about a particular hymn or resource, contact email@example.com.
Several musicians have given permission to Church of the Brethren congregations to stream or upload their music during this time of physical distancing.
Ways to offer church services at a distance
The denomination's one fully online congregation is the Living Stream church, which uses (paid) Livestream services. The Living Stream pastoral team and “tech deacons” are offering to help other congregations that may have questions or need assistance to put their own online worship in place. Contact assistance@LivingStreamCOB.org.
Other Church of the Brethren congregations have turned to Zoom (conferences or meetings over web, video, or phone), Facebook, YouTube, Free Conference Calling (which is especially good for areas without reliable internet), sermons posted on the church website, virtual Sunday School, and more. See a listing of online opportunities here.