The scriptures tell us that whenever two or three are gathered, Jesus Christ is in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20) But what about when we can’t gather in person at all?
As we all navigate these difficult days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more important to rely on each other in new ways and celebrate the connections among us in the Minnesota Conference UCC. Churches small and large, whether in greater Minnesota or the metro area, are all feeling the pain of this unimaginable situation. Pastors, chaplains, and lay leaders are all faced with overwhelming questions and worries. We miss seeing each other at worship, gathering together around tables to catch up on our families and the latest news, learning from each other, laughing and singing and praying together in the churches we love.
We need each other! And we can still be there for each other in important and life-giving ways. As we connect with one another in new and unfamiliar ways to provide mutual support and express our care and concern, we reflect the unstoppable love and abiding grace of God. God is most definitely still in the midst of us!
The Conference intends to provide support to our members in whatever ways we can during this crisis. Although all staff members are now working remotely from our homes, we will continue to be in touch with you. You may email us or call us at our normal office number, 612-871-0359, leaving a message on the voice mail extension of the person you are trying to reach. (Staff will be checking their voice mail at the office daily and returning calls as promptly as possible.) We are in the process of developing multiple ways to connect meaningfully across the Conference throughout this crisis.
Opportunities for Support
- Group Support Calls with Pastors, facilitated by Conference staff, every Tuesday (11 am–noon) and Friday (1:30–2:30 pm). Watch your email for Zoom links.
- Group Support Calls with Chaplains, facilitated by Conference staff, every Wednesday at 4:30 pm
- Group Support Calls with congregational moderators and Council Presidents. Schedule TBD.
- Like our “Minnesota Conference UCC” Facebook page. We post important communications from the Conference there as soon as we have them, as well as other news.
- If you’re an authorized minister in the Minnesota Conference UCC, join the “MN Conference Authorized Ministers” group on Facebook. Resources and messages specifically for ministers will be posted there. (And if you’re already a member of that group, please invite others of your FB friends who are authorized ministers in the MNCUCC to join and help us grow the group).
Resources Available to Your Congregations
- Check out a dynamic set of resources we are compiling for you on our website to specifically help you navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. These include resources to help you plan worship in new ways, talk with children about the coronavirus crisis, faith formation ideas, and pastoral care articles. Check the page often; we’ll continually update it with new and helpful information.
- Need a way for groups/committees in your church to gather electronically but don’t have access to an online platform for that purpose? The Conference is making available use of a Zoom account just for you, free of charge! This online videoconferencing platform is easy to use and allows you to see all the people attending your virtual meeting (if they have a computer camera); members can also call in using any phone. You may schedule use of this Zoom account for up to 2-hour sessions by contacting Sandy Kellen at firstname.lastname@example.org to request time. (We ask that you please not use this account for your virtual worship needs in order to maximize use for many throughout the Conference. )
Does your congregation have a specific interest or need during this pandemic that the Conference staff can help address? Do you have other ideas for groups that we can convene for mutual support and idea-sharing? Please email Conference Minister Shari Prestemon with your ideas and requests.