Staying Safe in the Midst of Contagious Disease


Covid-19 April Update - Communication from Conference Minister, Rev. Gordon M. Rankin

To the Churches, Clergy, and Friends of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ:

We minister in uncertain times.  Covid-19 has changed our world in this season.  Each day brings an unfolding of new griefs.  Uncertainty deepens as we wonder when, and perhaps even if, things will return to normal.  The news, at times, feels overwhelming.  Covid-19 has also changed the church in this season.  Many churches have moved worship on line (and from what I’ve been hearing they have people from across the country and around the world joining them).  Not only is worship happening digitally but so is Bible study, devotions, storytelling, prayer groups and a variety of fellowship opportunities.  Churches have instituted phone trees or other such methods to consistently and intentionally care for church members.  Programs such as food banks are continuing to serve communities albeit in modified ways.  Our world has changed.  The good news – the news of grace and love – is that we have changed church to meet the needs of our changing world.  Thanks be to God!

Two weeks ago, I offered a series of requests, resources and announcements for the month of March.  Here is a new series of requests, resources and announcements for April continue reading >>


Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) will be effective April 2, 2020 and remains in effect until December 31, 2020
FFRCA applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees, including religious organizations engaged in commerce; organizations with 50 or more employees are deemed to be engaged in commerce.


Clergy Check-In #2 Scheduled for March 31 and April 1

As we look toward Holy Week and the potential that our community gatherings and worship may not yet be able to occur in person, this Check-in will allow our pastors and clergy an opportunity to network and share ideas for creative Holy Week worship and ministry.

Two sessions will be held:

  • Tuesday, March 31, 5:00 to 6:30 pm
  • Wednesday, April 1, 10:00 to 11:30 am


The Zoom link to join these sessions is: https://zoom.us/j/981363971

Meeting ID: 981 363 971

One tap mobile
+16465588656,,981363971# US (New York)
+13126266799,,981363971# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 981 363 971


Worship and Community Connection via Technology Primer to be held March 25, 2020

Join us Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. for a primer on ways to use digital media for connection and worship in a time of social distancing. We will explore video conferencing using Zoom, Facebook Live, and Youtube. This program is presented by pastors for pastors.

Join the Zoom Meeting on your computer, laptop, or tablet by clicking on the link below:
https://zoom.us/j/776596990

or use Meeting ID: 776 596 990 in the Zoom app.

For joining by one tap mobile the numbers are:
+13126266799,,776596990# US (Chicago)
+16465588656,,776596990# US (New York)

For joining by phone dial in based on your location use:
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US
+1 301 715 8592 US
and then enter Meeting ID: 776 596 990

If you need to find your local dial in number go to: https://zoom.us/u/acZt3ip4u5


March, 16, 2020 - Communications from Conference Minister, Rev. Gordon M. Rankin

Covid-19 Update

To the Churches, Clergy,and Friends of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ:

We minister in uncertain times. The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged the church to find ways to minister to one another while also keeping one another safe. The following recommendations, resources, and announcements are made in the spirit of covenant to help us all find a faithful way forward:  read more >>

Pastoral Note

Without question, the leadership and community care happening in our churches right now has been inspiring. Pastors and Lay Leaders your faith is shining through these uncertain times. I offer this note solely to support the care you’ve already been providing. You may use it with your congregations if and how you like.


March, 13, 2020 - Announcement to NHCUCC Pastors and Clergy from Conference Minister, Rev. Gordon M. Rankin

Next week we will be holding two Zoom Check-ins when we can offer each other support and resources for ministering in this anxious season. Please join us either:

  • Wednesday, March 18 at 10:00 - 11:30 am or
  • Thursday, March 19 at  5:00  - 6:30 pm

Zoom instructions to join this meeting:

Click on the link: https://zoom.us/j/981363971

Meeting ID: 981 363 971

One tap mobile

       +16465588656,,981363971# US (New York)

        +13126266799,,981363971# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location

        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

        +1 301 715 8592 US

        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

        +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

        +1 253 215 8782 US

Meeting ID: 981 363 971

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/auqN8mayY


March, 12, 2020 - Announcement from NHCUCC Conference Minister, Rev. Gordon M. Rankin

Covid-19 and Conference Activities

1.    At this time we are not closing the Conference Office to meetings and gatherings (although we may do so in the future if the situation progresses).  However, we strongly encourage all Conference (and Association) committees, Ministry Teams and Mission Groups to move to a Zoom only format for meetings until this health crisis resolves.  Conference staff will aide in setting up and hosting such meetings*.   It seems prudent to reduce risk where we can and Zoom format meetings allow us to do so.

2.    At this time, decisions on holding Conference events will be made on a case by case basis (although we may alter this approach in the future if the situation progresses).  Many factors will be included in the evaluation such size of the group gathering and the nature of the event.  Hosting Ministry Teams or Mission Groups will have input but the Conference Minister will make the final decision regarding such events being held. 

3.    At this time we are not discontinuing staff visits (Sunday preaching, search and call visits, etc.) to churches.  However, either the staff member or the church may choose to reschedule the visit or move the visit to another format (Zoom, phone conference, etc.) if it seems prudent.

*  Zoom is a video conferencing technology that the Conference utilizes.  If one can make a phone call, one can participate in a Zoom conversation.  During this time when we are trying to reduce risk, we would encourage that everyone on the committee, team or group join by Zoom (rather than have some in the Conference Office and some on Zoom).


Coronavirus Resources

The United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries has created a webpage to share resources with guidance on prevention and preparedness for congregations/individuals at: https://www.ucc.org/disaster_coronavirus_resources_from_the_ucc.

Among those resources are also some helpful links:


New Hampshire Conference Minister, Rev. Gordon Rankin, adds "as we consider how to be thoughtful as churches in light of public health risks of contagious disease, it is also important that we continue to be attentive to the emotional and spiritual needs of our communities. We have received information from some of our New Hampshire colleagues that there have been reports of Asian-American students in some school systems being ridiculed by classmates (saying they create health risk for them). Too often it is the marginalized who are scapegoated and blamed in situations of public health risk. Please be extra attentive to the pastoral needs for persons of color and immigrants within your community."


General Information on Contagious Diseases:

We thank our Episcopalian colleagues from the New Hampshire Episcopal Diocese for the their Guide to Safe Practices in a time of concern about contagious diseases.