Dear Clergy and Congregational Leaders,
The following are the essential actions and information for this week:
1. Childcare Resourcing – GAP Centers – All Churches with Childcare Facilities or are Looking to Open Care Facilities
Childcare continues to be a great need in our communities and A Future With Hope has been working with state and local officials to resource childcare facilities in our churches and churches who wish to open a temporary childcare facility at this time. A Future With Hope is hosting its second resourcing forum to discuss GAP Centers for facilities providing care for children receiving remote instructions in NJ public schools. The forum is scheduled for November 4 at 2:00 p.m. We will be joined by Bishop John Schol and Brian C. Ross, Esq. Assistant Commissioner for Legal, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. For information and registration.
2. Survey – Lead Pastors of all Congregations
There will be three surveys between now and the end of the year to assess COVID-19 response and needs. There are significantly fewer questions than previous COVID-19 surveys and every congregation is to complete the survey so that the cabinet and GNJ leaders can assess the next steps we take in ministry together. The survey will remain open until Wednesday, October 28 at 8:30 a.m. and we expect all congregations to participate. So far 213 pastors have already completed the survey this month. If you have not, click here for the survey.
3. Boys Scouts – All Lead Pastors, Church Council Chairpersons and Board of Trustees Chairpersons
GNJ seeks to support individuals and families who have experienced child sexual abuse. In light of the Boy Scouts of America filing for bankruptcy as a result of sexual abuse claims that have been filed against them, we will work with individuals and congregations impacted by decisions of Boy Scouts of America. Anyone who has been impacted by abuse from Boy Scout activities are encouraged to consult a lawyer and file a claim by November 16 to be included in the bankruptcy filing. If the activity took place in one of our church buildings or activities, we ask the individual’s attorney or the individual to notify us as well. Bishop Schol sent an email on Monday evening sharing how we support individuals. You may find a copy of the letter by clicking here.
All GNJ churches who have chartered a Boy Scout Troop or Pack may face liability for a claim filed against the Troop or Pack hosted in the church building. To help address the situation, all congregations need to indicate if they have or have not chartered Boy Scout Troops or other Boy Scout Packs at any time since 1970. You may find more information, brief confirmation form and FAQs about this matter here. If you are unsure if your congregation has chartered a Boy Scout Troop or Pack, please review church records and talk to long time members. Please complete the brief tracking form here by October 30.
4. Safe Sanctuaries – All Lead Pastors, Church Council Chairpersons and Youth Leaders
In GNJ, we will take all necessary steps to address and support victims of child abuse. All congregations must ensure they have and follow a Safe Sanctuary policy and that they carry insurance for their ministry or service to people in the community. For more information, consult the Safe Sanctuary web pages.
Thank you for your ministry,