COVID-19 Resources

As we scramble to continue to be church in these new circumstances, our district, conference, episcopal area and denomination are flooding us with resources to make the pivot. If you saw something fly by in your e-mail and now you can't find it again, contact the District Office (columbia@umoi.org or 503.802.9227) and Brandon will do his best to help track it down.

Preliminary Priorities

First priority:

And remember to do the basics:

  • Update your church office voicemail message to include:
    • that you are not meeting at the building for worship, and what options you are offering for worship;
    • any change in hours of availability;
    • whether they can leave a message and how soon to expect a call back and/or numbers to call for help;
    • the pastor and anyone who is responding to needs, contacts for other groups who use your building;
    • a blessing for the caller!
  • Update your website and Facebook page
    • Have the information about not gathering at the building for worship and the options you are offering for worship be prominent and easy to find.
    • Add easy-to-find instructions about how and who to contact with questions or requests for help.
    • Share what you are doing with the CDCES grant and other ways your congregation is helping your neighbors.
  • Advertise
    • Tell folks about how you are gathering in this season, either in the local newspaper (paid ads or offer it as a story idea), Facebook, podcasts, local cable, web, and/or radio stations.
    • People who may not have ever come in your doors may now be looking for some support and encouragement, and will be willing to check out your online worship or sign up for an e-mail
    • People need to hear encouraging stories about people caring for each other to counter the fear- and anxiety-producing stories they're hearing elsewhere
  • Stay in touch with your members and friends
    • If your congregation mostly checked in with each other on Sunday mornings, you'll need to find a new way to do that by phone, e-mail, or Zoom gatherings.
    • People need more contact, not less, when they are isolated and anxious.

Church-Related Resources

Setting up video conference meetings

Doing worship remotely

  • Click here for an article that does a great job of covering considerations about doing worship online.
  • For more detailed information about doing a live stream worship or other gathering, click here.
  • For guidance from the Western Jurisdiction Bishops about observing holy communionclick here.
  • For guidance on conducting memorial services during this time, click here.  
  • If your congregation won't be putting worship online, you might want to offer information about how members can access services from other local UM churches which are. A list can be found by clicking here.  (And let us know if you are offering that, so we can add you to the list!)

Supporting worship and spiritual growth at home:

  • Illustrated Ministry is offering select resources free during the pandemic. Go to www.illustratedministry.com and look for the 'sign up here' banner along the top.
  • The Lewis Center for Church Leadership is offering video-based studies at greatly discounted prices through April 30. These are suitable for remote studies together. Check it out by clicking here.

Church Finances when you are not gathering:

Additional UMC resources


Non-Profit, Activities, Government, and other Resources

  • Dougy Center - www.dougy.org - Portland-area nonprofit that supports children navigate grief together.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (Oregon) - http://namior.org - Suicide rates may rise due to COVID-19 fears. These folks help resist that.
  • Oregon's COVID-19 pagehttps://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19 - The State of Oregon dumps all of their updates related to the pandemic here. An email newsletter is also available.
  • CovidActNowhttps://covidactnow.org/state/OR - Community-powered modeling of how different practices can help flatten the curve.
  • Health Datahttp://covid19.healthdata.org/ - A similar stats-powered set of models to estimate rates of infection and hospital capacity.
  • Make your own washable, reusable face maskhttps://ragmask.com/ - Experts have recently surmised that simple masks in public may be particularly helpful for preventing COVID-19's spread, both for the asymptomatic infected and the non-infected. This site has simple instructions for how to sew your own.