COVID-19 Resources for Rostered Ministers

Friends in Christ:

This week has been such a roller coaster, and change is happening so quickly, it feels like information that is more than a couple hours old is already obsolete. During these days of uncertainty and forced adaptive learning, I pray that you can all find the time to breathe, connect, and feel some sense of God’s presence. Please know that we in the synod office (I should say of the synod office, since we’re not actually in that space) are available to be of any help or support; just let us know. Here are a couple of updates and resources that we are offering:

  1. Zoom check-in meetings. We held three meetings last week, and we had 20-35 participants in each one. The next zoom check-in will be Tuesday, March 24, at 1:00 pm. (see Zoom link at the bottom of this email) We will be devising a schedule and rhythm that works for now, as we are beginning to realize that this may well be our reality for longer than originally anticipated. The purpose of these Zoom meetings is to offer a time for rostered leaders to check in with each other and synod staff, offer support, and share concerns or questions that are new each day.
  2. Zoom worship. We are working on a zoom worship experience for rostered ministers, as a place where we will be “okay to not be okay”, and we will have a chance to lament, pray, reflect, and worship together via zoom. We are looking at offering that next Thursday at 1:00 pm; we’ll finalize these plans by next Tuesday.
  3. Zoom best practices. We know that many folks are becoming familiar with using digital gatherings like zoom for the first time, and we have posted several resources on our synod website. Included there is a how-to guide, as well as a link to an article that provides guidance on how to prevent “trolls” from hijacking a publicly accessible zoom meeting. If you’re using zoom, please take a look.
  4. Mike Ward, a Lutheran pastor and fundraising consultant with whom the Greater Milwaukee Synod has worked extensively, shares his best advice for mission, ministry, and generosity in uncertain times in this video.  We have also compiled a two-page document on Best Practices During Times of Uncertainty – Communication & Generosity.
  5. Other resources. We are hoping to sort through the mass amounts of information and suggestions that are available and provide some links that seem to be the most helpful. Included on our webpage is a resource from the Southeastern Synod, which includes a brief PowerPoint presentation by a health expert. Yes, the information is already several days old, but it can be a helpful resource that provides a sobering look at the severity of this crisis.

Finally, thank you. I have witnessed some amazing creativity, resourcefulness, and ministry taking place in recent days, and I am so proud of each one of you. We will all engage in different ways, and while some may be proficient at developing online resources, others are great at just picking up the phone and calling folks, or setting up ministry teams of members to be calling and checking in on each other. Let’s be gentle on ourselves and on each other. There’s no one right way to do this, and I pray that you will feel empowered to do what works for you in your context, focusing on our common call to love our neighbors fueled by curiosity, courage, compassion, and collaboration. These core values that we adopted last year are as important as they ever have been. We are learning and experimenting in ways we could not have imagined just a few weeks ago, and I am confident that, whenever we emerge from this crisis, God will have helped us become the church that God needs to proclaim the ancient message of grace, mercy, and love.

You are precious, you are loved, you are enough.

In Christ,