Dear Clergy and Congregational Leaders,
Yesterday, the GNJ staff family at its regular morning worship celebrated the life and ministry of Superintendent Myrna Bethke. Myrna’s life and ministry touched so many in GNJ and beyond. We are currently exploring how we together as GNJ will celebrate and praise God for the life of Myrna during the pandemic. Please continue to pray for her husband Drew and her family in these difficult days.
The following are the essential actions and information for this week:
1. Survey – Lead Pastors
We have re-instituted the survey for at least the next six weeks for all lead pastors to complete to help GNJ leaders best understand reopenings, finances and ministry so that we can make adjustments and best serve our leaders and congregations. You will find this week new questions about child care ministries as we seek to assist congregations with this important ministry during the pandemic. This week’s survey can be found here and will be open through Thursday at 10:00 a.m. in order to process the results and consider at the cabinet’s Monday meeting. The results will also be posted on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. here.
2. GNJ COVID-19 Grants, FEMA Recovery Grants and Extended CARES Act PPP Grants–
Clergy, Trustee and Finance Chairpersons
GNJ set aside $2 million and raised an additional $189,000 for food and other related COVID-19 ministry and to support congregations. To date, GNJ has distributed $323,857. You may apply for a grant here.
Churches can qualify for FEMA recovery grants for specific items including cleaning services, equipment, and supplies, PPE (personal protective equipment), food distributed to the community and furnishings or property renovation made necessary by the pandemic (e.g., replacing pews with chairs or replacing large tables with smaller tables for social distancing). The grants are reimbursements only and specific procurement requirements must be strictly followed in advance of the spending. Information on the FEMA grants can be found here.
The CARES Act has been extended and is now accepting new applications for funding. We estimate that GNJ churches have already received between $4 and $5 million in funding from this program. Clergy in new appointments to churches who have not received this funding are encouraged to apply now. Information for applying at this time can be found here.
3. Reopening Guidance – All Clergy, Trustee Chairpersons
The GNJ MRC (Mission and Resource Center) is not scheduled to reopen before September 1. With the resurgences of the virus, we encourage all churches to go slow and be thorough. Our goal is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and ensure zero transmission through United Methodist activity. The landscape for the pandemic continues to change and further reopening steps are pausing as state governments assess recent upticks in COVID-19. Before opening church buildings, all congregations in GNJ are to continue to follow the guidelines established by their governors and create a plan according to GNJ guidelines that can be found below.
4. Clergy Appraisals – All Clergy, SPRC Chairs Chairpersons
Clergy appraisals provide pastors with feedback about their leadership and progress. All clergy appraisals are to be complete by July 15. In the time of COVID-19, the cabinet is offering congregations a simplified appraisal process that includes only three questions. If desired, congregations are also welcome to complete the standard appraisal. Information about the appraisal can be found here.
5. Church Conferences – Pastors, Admin/Church Council Chairpersons
Church (or charge) conferences will be held this fall, most likely remotely. This morning, you will have received an email outlining log-in information for Arena to complete your church conference paperwork. All paperwork is due on September 21. For details.
Thank you for your ministry and leadership.
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