COVID-19 Resource Hub

As we do our part to do no harm, North Georgia United Methodists are rethinking ways of doing church and building community. We are offering worship, Bible study, and Sunday school online. We are finding ways to care for our neighbors. We are leaning into our connection. We are buoyed by our faith in Jesus Christ. 

Find helpful resources, information, and updates as we navigate this unprecedented situation together. 

 

Information & Messages

MESSAGE: Bishop and Cabinet Offer Update on Opening Church Buildings

MESSAGE: Bishop and Cabinet Offer Updates on Children's Ministry, Polling Places, Counseling

GUIDELINES: Bishop and Cabinet Continue to Urge North Georgia Conference Churches Not to Gather, But to Prepare (April 27)

VIDEO: Benefits Update from Wespath

MESSAGE: Bishop and Cabinet Urge Churches to Continue to Remain Closed Through May 13 (April 20)

MESSAGE: Benefits Updates for North Georgia Conference Churches (April 15)

VIDEO: Update from Conference Treasurer Keith Cox
(March 31)

MESSAGE: Bishop and Cabinet Ask That Church Buildings and Property Remain Closed Through April 30
(March 30)

GUIDANCE: Copyright Information from the United Methodist Publishing House
(March 27)

VIDEO: Message from Bishop Sue  |  Read Transcript
(March 25)

ANNOUNCEMENT: Conference Board of Pension to Cover Church Portion of Healthflex Insurance Premiums for Next Three Months
(March 20)

LETTER: Open Letter to North Georgia United Methodists from Rev. Chris and Dr. Jennifer Barbieri
(March 18)

LETTER: Bishop Strongly Urges Cancellation of Worship Services 
(March 13)

GUIDANCE: CDC Interim Guidance for Faith Organizations


Re-Launch Resource Hub

Find guidelines and resources for churches considering how and when to re-launch in-person worship on the Relaunch Resources Hub.


The CARES Act, PPP, FFCRA and Your Church


The North Georgia Conference encourages churches to actively pursue a PPP Loan if it makes sense for your congregation. We will continue to update resources and information on PPP Loans and Loan Forgiveness and other relevant portions of the CARES Act. 

 

PPP Forgiveness

 


More CARES Act Updates and Resources

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) concerning paid leave for employees, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act related to unemployment insurance and church staff all have implications for local churches. 

A number of organizations are working to interpret the act as it relates to churches and non-profits. We will continue to update this page with useful analysis.

Note that information is developing every day.


IRS Employee Retention Credit (for churches not receiving the PPP Loan):


Paycheck Protection Program:


EIDL Loans:

More CARES Act Information:

Families First Coronavirus Response Act:


Stewardship Resources

Online Giving

There are a number of online giving platforms utilized by North Georgia Conference churches. GCFA has a relationship with Vanco, which offers several options for local churches. 

For any UMC church that enrolls with Vanco, the monthly fee for the Start Plan will be waived for a full year and for those that enroll with the Sustain Plan, the monthly fee would be waived for the first 3 months.

  • Vanco Offers Online Giving Solutions 
  • Another Option: Ask your members to check with their banks on a “BillPay” option. If so, they can set up the church as a regular payment. The bank generates an electronic check and sends it via USPS (United States Postal Service) to the church.

Insurance and Benefits


Grief & Mental Health Tools 


Child Abuse Prevention

As we continue social distancing and schools remain closed, we in the church need to be even more prepared to respond to children in difficult situations as we hear of cases of suspected abuse. The infographic linked below offers reminders of our reporting obligations and how we can appropriately respond.

If you need help adapting Safe Sanctuaries and mandatory reporter rules to our online context, reach out to Rev. Debby Fox, a consultant in the area of children's ministries for Congregational Excellence, at debby.fox@ngumc.net


Mission & Outreach


Related Agency Resources

Our United Methodist-related agencies are examples of our connection in action. They offer resources, service opportunities, and information on their websites at the links below:


Resource UMC: Helping Your Church Respond

ResourceUMC.org has aggregated a multitude of resources and continues to create many original pieces to help leaders respond in this moment, especially focusing on helping them connect with online tools and information about creating online worship.

 

Pentecost

 

Pentecost is Sunday, May 31. You are invited to include the following resources as part of your church's online Pentecost worship service or share as stand-alone pieces. They may be posted on social media, on your church website, or emailed to your congregation. Click the title to view or download each resource.

Music

Doxology

Small Group Conversation

United Methodist Communications shares this small group conversation examining the meaning of Pentecost and the good news that we are not alone.

Acts 2:1-4 

Dahlonega UMC shares its Acts 4:2-1 video for Pentecost. Languages spoken in this video - English, Chinese, French, Greek, Estonian, Hungarian, Spanish (Mexican), Spanish (Colombian), Haitian Creole, German, Swahili, Spanish (Cuban), Spanish (El Salvador), Albanian, and Hebrew. Produced and Edited by Chuck Bell Music ~ www.chuckbellmusic.com ~ for www.dahlonegaumc.org.


Small Group, Discipleship, and Leadership Resources

 

Video Series: Leading in the Wilderness

With the current pandemic, pastors and church leaders find ourselves doing ministry in uncharted territory. We have not been here before and yet we find ourselves navigating a paradigm shift that requires that we rethink church, relationship, and ministry. 

Amid this paradigm shift, the Wilderness is a four-part video series designed to offer pastors resources and best practices in the areas of hospitality, leadership, small groups, and service. 

  • Hospitality in the Wilderness focuses on guest readiness. It explores how to connect with the congregation and guests in a digital worship medium and beyond. 
    WATCH VIDEO

  • Gathering in the Wilderness focuses on facilitating small groups. It explores topics such as how to run a small group, dealing with the silence and how to break viewing monotony and foster energy in the digital medium.
    WATCH VIDEO 
     
  • Leadership in the Wilderness focuses on solo heroic leaders versus generative leadership. It explores effective delegation and utilizing staff and volunteers and identifying and nurturing those who have skill sets best suited for this time.
    WATCH VIDEO
     
  • Serving in the Wilderness focuses on being in ministry with the church and the surrounding community. It explores ways to offer light and hope to the church and the surrounding community in a digital age.
    WATCH VIDEO

Find the series at https://vimeo.com/showcase/7146261.

 

Video Devotional: Parts Unknown

Clergy from the "Parts Unknown" ACE Group are offering an 8-week video devotional series focusing on the Corrie Ten Boom quote "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." You're invited to watch and share with your church or small group.

 

Sunday School / Small Group Lessons: Spirituality and Health 

Rev. Lahronda Little, a certified candidate for ministry in our Conference and a student in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University, offers a 4-week Sunday School or small group curriculum on spirituality and health. The series is written so that each lesson can easily be taught online by Zoom or Facebook Live. Each lesson includes a biblical text, discussion, and practical application.

Upper Room Devotional Available for Free Download

Because churches are unable to meet and gather safely in their buildings during the coronavirus pandemic, The Upper Room is offering the May/June 2020 issue, in English and Spanish, as a free, downloadable PDF. The Upper Room also has created a web page featuring resources to help create and maintain spiritual wellness during anxious times.

 

Amplify Media 

Amplify Media is a digital streaming service of the study library of both Cokesbury and Abington Press.


Worship Resources


Guidelines for Drive-In Worship

Churches may consider offering “drive-in worship,” although guidelines must be followed to do so safely. 

  • Coordinate with your local law enforcement or emergency management agency. 
  • Utilize volunteers or signage to direct parking. 
  • Everyone, including volunteers, staff, and clergy, must follow social distancing guidelines at all times. 
  • No one should leave vehicles for any reason. 
  • No bathroom facilities.  
  • No playground.
  • Park every other spot
  • No one exchanges anything. 

Read about how one small church offered Drive-In Worship at: 
https://www.ngumc.org/newsdetail/church-holds-drive-in-worship-in-response-to-covid-19-13535337


Resources for Online Worship

NGUMC churches are invited to use the video and music linked below in online worship or to share in email or social media. Click the title to view or download each resource. 

Sample Attendance/Connection Form:

Consider offering an online "Attendance" or "Connect" Card.

Video Resources:

Music Resources:

Pentecost Worship Resources:

Pentecost Sunday Resource Page

Easter Worship Resources:

How to Lead Online Worship

Communion During Online Worship

Streaming Licenses and Copyright

Worshiping at Home


Meeting and Small Group Technology

 

Online and Phone Meetings

Zoom, Google Chat, and Skype are just a few of the free options out there you can try for web meetings. (Zoom is free for calls under 40 minutes.) Or try Free Conference Call dot com for a phone conference. 

Online Bible Study and Small Groups

The same tools available for online meetings are great for online Bible study or small groups. Additionally, consider Did you know Amplify Media, a digital streaming service of the study library of both Cokesbury and Abington Press.

Faith Formation

 

Ministry with Youth and Parents

Ministry with Children and Parents