Does your church run a food pantry? Provide community meals? Operate an essentials pantry, shelter, health clinic or clothing closet? Join with others to discuss best practices for continuing to meet community needs during the COVID-19 emergency.

The Maine Council of Churches is hosting an online meeting Tuesday, March 24 at 10:00am for Maine churches who provide social services. Clergy and lay program leaders are invited to share information and resources and to support one another as we work to help our most vulnerable neighbors.  The need is great and likely to increase, yet our social and moral obligation to protect the safety of our guests, clients, volunteers, staff and communities must guide how we do this work.  Let’s help each other help each other!

Click here to register for this free interactive webinar:–rrzspOhveBI4jYfnh7vSV2jlBvA

(The webinar will be recorded and archived for viewing by those who aren’t available to participate on Tuesday.)

How to be a congregation when you can’t congregate

During these strange and challenging times, faith communities are demonstrating extraordinary resiliency, creativity, ingenuity and compassion.  We at the Maine Council of Churches are inspired by your faithfulness and service within your congregations and beyond your walls to the wider community as together we face the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is clear to us that though church buildings may be closed, GOD’S CHURCH IS OPEN!

Over the past week, we have been in close communication with the judicatory leaders of our seven member denominations (click HERE to read their joint statement on responding to the coronavirus), with ecumenical partners like The BTS Center, and with our trusted secular partner organizations, like Bread for the World, Preble Street, Maine Equal Justice and Maine Council on Aging. 

We know that each denomination is in direct contact with its clergy and congregations, providing them with support, resources and guidance, and that each denomination’s website has a wealth of information to help churches pivot and adjust to this “new normal.”

Here are some Maine-specific resources beyond our denominations that you will find helpful:

The BTS Center has set up a special webpage, “Creativity, Compassion and the Coronavirus”  They are offering a weekly prayer huddle for clergy on Wednesdays at 9am, and on Thursday, March 26, at 10am they are hosting an interactive webinar on “Spiritual Practices for Spiritual Leaders.”  In partnership with the podcast “Reports from the Spiritual Frontier,” they will also co-host a series on issues related to faith and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sojourners is offering a special guide on “doing church” digitally in virtual reality.  If you’re climbing the learning curve for using technology to keep your congregation connected in these days of social distancing, you’ll find lots of helpful information: “Community Without Communing: Resources for Virtual Church”

Horizons Stewardship has launched an excellent new series, “Resilient Leadership” that offers ideas, information and inspiration to help churches be the church even when not meeting in person:

Maine Equal Justice is offering webinars and resources to assist folks in accessing unemployment insurance, General Assistance, TANF, SNAP, health care, and other benefits to meet urgent basic needs:

Your local Meals On Wheels program is looking for volunteers to help them meet increased demand for food preparation and deliveries to senior citizens.  People in low-risk categories for COVID-19 are asked to reach out to their local chapter and offer assistance.  They have streamlined the screening process to make it even easier for folks from your church to volunteer.

For those living with dementia and those who care for them, there will be a “virtual meet-up” space online to help combat the effects of social isolation and the impact of disruption of routines.  The conversation will take place at 6pm this evening, Friday, March 20, 2020 and run for one hour or longer as needed.  The session will be recorded.
Here’s the link: