COVID-19
(7 July 2020)
Camp Luther ... Vespers Knoll cross
West Virginia - Western Maryland Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Page Contents
Roadshow

Since important notices related to COVID-19 might be sent by Roadshow, you may want to sign up. More information about the Roadshow can be found at the Members Portal.


Facebook

We also use Facebook to share information. If you have a Facebook account, you can check us out on the WV-WMD Synod Facebook page.

Information on this page is updated every few days. Checking back periodically is not a bad idea. If you broswer caches pages (most do), you may want to hit the refresh button.

Please read Bishop Riegel's Pastoral of Oculi Sunday if you haven't already.

Lot's of Updates to Subpages

Check out the Government page and the Reopening page. Lot's of updates.

Requiem Mass Template

A requiem mass template is now available on the COVID-19 Worship Page. If you are looking for a way to memorialize those who have died during the time of quarantine or from the pandemic, take a look.

Reopening

Questions about reopening churches have been swirling, ever since West Virginia's Gov. Justice announced that state's Safer At Home protocols. DEM Sherri Schafer developed a white paper examining multiple questions related to congregational reopening, presenting it to synod pastors in a Zoom meeting on April 30. Since then, Synod has been monitoring new information coming out from various government an ecclesiastical entities, attempting to update and collate what has already been posted on these pages with the latest guidance.

Reopening Webpage

A new Synod webpage has been mounted that attempts to put all the information related to reopening in one place. Visit Reopening & COVID-19 by clicking here.

CIDRAP ViewpointCIDRAP Viewpoint

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy of the University of Minnesota prepared an insightful "viewpoint" with respect to COVID-19. The paper examines past pandemics, comparing them to each other and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Various scenarios are subsequently explored. The document was published April 30. Download here.

Government Statements

The government declarations and statements have been moved to their own page. Click here to visit the new COVID-19 Government Declarations page to find our what recommendations and orders our elected officials are promulgating that might affect church life (among many other things).

WV: Safer at Home

WV has issued new standards titled, "Safer at Home." Visit the COVID-19 Government page for details.

Message from Presiding Bishop Eaton

Bishop Eaton has posted several messages as the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded. Here's the latest, released on 1 May 2020. You can catch them all on the ELCA Youtube Channel.

Synod Worship During COVID-19

We've moved some stuff off this page because it was getting crowded. If you are looking for
  • Synod Worship Videos
  • Worship and Devotional Resources
  • Guidance on Worship
Visit our new COVID-19 Worship page (click here).






Church Life and Work under COVID-19

Questions have been coming in regarding a host of issues related to the life and work of the church. To that end, as questions come in (and time allows), we'll be posting advice and opinions. See also the Bishop's Pastoral of Oculi Sunday below for counsel regarding to the proper work of Christians within the context of the Three Estates.

Worship, Devotional Resources, and Pastoral Acts

This has been moved to a new page: COVID-19 Worship (click here). Especially important is the guidance on Zoom Baptism.

Church Finances, Administration, and Polity

Reopening of Congregations (5/17/2020)

Be sure to visit the Synod's Reopening & COVID-19 webpage. Click here.

Synod clergy were invited to a zoom conference held 30 April 2020 on the reopening of churches. Another zoom conference is being planned for key lay leaders from each congregation. In addition, printed guidance is being developed.

Note well, where allowed, reopening is an option, not a requirement. Additionally not all synod congregations are in localities where restrictions are being eased. Prior to reopening,

  • Check your locality's restrictions: when comparing Federal, state, county, and municipal orders, the most restrictive applies.
  • Consult with your insurer
  • Consult with your attorney
  • Consult with parishioners with medical expertise (nurses, doctors, public health experts and officials).

Information on government orders and resources from both the states/commonwealth and the CDC can be accessed on our Government Page.

Email Voting by Congregation Council (4/22/2020)

Guidance has been posted on this question that has come up more than once and will probably come up even more with the pandemic-restrictions that are currently in place. Click here to access.

CARES Act: Update 4/3/2020

New CARES Act information is coming out every day. Synod Treasurer Solberg has been hard at work, trying to stay on top of things, which isn't easy because even the Federal agencies involved are still trying to figure it all out. To find out what we know at this point with respect to the CARES Act and also review resources from other sources, visit our CARES Act page. All congregational treasurers should review it.

Feeding Ministry Matching Grant: Update 4/4/2020

DOMESTIC HUNGER GRANT DEADLINE MOVED TO JUNE 1: The Domestic  Hunger Grant application period opened in March 8 and will close on June 1. Please visit the ELCA website for more information. If you are interested in submitting an application, please contact Community Lutheran Partners Executive Director, Pastor Sherri Schafer, for more information and for assistance in writing the grant.
Previous Announcement: ELCA World Hunger's Daily Bread Matching Grants support congregations and their partners as they work toward a just world where all are fed. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) congregations with feeding ministries are eligible to participate. As part of the ELCA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 100 grants will be available to eligible ministries on a first-come, first-served basis (more grants may be made available). Once your application has been approved, you will be able to invite your congregation, networks and friends to donate. To kickstart your campaign, the funds you raise will be matched by ELCA World Hunger with a grant of $500. To apply, click here.

Bishop's Pastorals

Thursday of the Easter Octave MMXX

The Bishop's letter of 16 April 2020 has been posted. He examines the opportunity for evangelism in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for a doubling of church attendance. Here it is:

It's four in the morning, and I have been up since 2:30 AM, unable to get back to sleep because the dream I had won't let me go. I'm not going into the details of the dream, but here is the upshot:

I am asking that we double our church attendance.

Well, right now, our church attendance is, as we currently would fill out our parochial reports, zero. Let's not double that. I'm talking about our attendance prior to the COVID-19 restrictions. Let us double that number.

I know that one of the fears running through the hearts of church leadership ... (click to continue)

Palmarum MMXX

The Bishop's pastoral of Palmarum (Palm Sunday) 2020 has been posted. Here is it:

Brothers and sisters, once you get some years on you and travel around a bit, you begin to realize that things haven’t always been the way they are. Of course, I am talking about liturgical practice, and, on this Palm Sunday, I can’t help but muse upon Palm Sundays past, as social isolation is an inciting muse. Childhood Palm Sundays were, as I remember (keep in mind that this is some forty years ago), not communion Sundays. The special practice for the day included getting one’s palms, but this was done by recession, not procession. That’s right: we had a recession with palms. Toward the end of the service, there would be some liturgical blessing of the palm. I don’t remember the details, but I do remember getting up as if we were going to communion, coming to the rail, receiving our palms, and walking out. Do I remember correctly that this recession was done while a soloist sang Jean-Baptiste Faure's The Palms? ... (click to continue)

 Oculi MMXX

On Oculi Sunday (15 March 2020), Bishop Riegel published a pastoral letter related to COVID-19 on both the Roadshow and Facebook. Here it is:

Brothers and sisters in Christ, since the age of 19, I’ve been in uniformed service. Park Ranger, FF/EMT (with multiple departments and squads), and, for most of my life since, the ministry, have been professional and volunteer work in which I put on a uniform and served my neighbor. I think back, at this time, to my fourteen years in EMS. When I first started running on the ambulance, the HIV pandemic was heating up. There was an initial time of fear, but no one I knew quit the service. We learned to use gloves, masks, shields, and other devices in new ways, but the mission didn’t change. The klaxon screamed, and we climbed into our rigs, heading out with no idea whether the next patient was infected. We were more cautious than we had been before, but the mission was the mission. Whoever the patient was and whatever their medical condition or emergency, it was our job to care for them. There was danger, but, in the field, there is always danger. The question was never “should we respond,” but rather “how do we respond well.” I remember a fire fighter who performed CPR without a pocket mask.... (click to continue)


 
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West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, ℅ St. Paul Lutheran Church, 309 Baldwin Street, Morgantown, WV 26505
304-363-4030  +  Porter@WV-WMD.org