Essential Actions and Updates | Week of May 26

May 27, 2020 | COVID-19, Essential Actions

Dear GNJ Congregational and Clergy Leaders,

Thank you for spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ while flattening the curve of COVID-19 and ensuring that zero infections are caused through United Methodist activities. God is making a difference through your leadership. This week, there are several important items for your review and action.

Governors of each of the three states that include GNJ congregations have approved limited worship services in church buildings and outdoors. Give careful attention to number 5 below for worship gatherings and the requirements for holding in person worship.

Essential Actions and Updates for May 26

1. Recognition of Confirmation Service with Bishop Schol: Action Required – Pastors, Confirmation Students and Leaders
On Sunday evening, May 31 at 7:00 p.m., Next Generation Ministries and Bishop Schol will have a service of Recognition of Confirmation Students. Join us and invite your confirmands from the past year by registering here for free to connect via  Zoom. We would like to include a slideshow of classes and students. Please email photos to Brynn Mosello by Thursday at noon to be included in the slideshow.

2. Health Disparities Tool Kit: Information – All Clergy and Lay Leaders
The COVID-19 pandemic exposes existing health disparities based on race and the complexity of the intersection with economic status, gender, age, living conditions and access to health care. The GNJ Commission on Religion and Race has created a Tool Kit for congregations to use. You can access this information here.  

3. Food Pantry Directory: Information – All Clergy and Lay Leaders
GNJ has assembled a food pantry directory for congregations to share with people in need, to volunteer and to collect food. You can access the food pantry directory here.

4. Clergy Appraisals: Action Required – SPRC Chairs and Clergy 
Each year at this time, SPR Committees engage in conversations with pastors about leadership, areas for further development and expectations for the next 12 months. Because of the unique challenges of COVID-19, the cabinet and conference leadership decided to modify the process and offer SPR Committees and pastors two options:
a. Complete an abbreviated appraisal that includes three open ended questions for consideration, or
b. Complete the standard appraisal form used yearly.

Information about the appraisal is available now and online appraisal forms will be available Thursday, May 28.  Appraisals are due by July 15. If you have any questions about clergy appraisals please contact Nicola Mulligan.

5. Reopening Church Buildings: Action Required Pastors and Church Leadership
Congregations may only open their building for worship and ministry when your governor indicates churches may open and your congregation has a plan based on the GNJ guidelines to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus. These guidelines are for indoor and outdoor worship. You may read the resource guide or listen to the information sessions held last week to help your congregation develop its plan here.

6. Grants for Congregations During COVID-19: Information – Pastors, Finance Chairs, Treasurers and Church Council Chairs
GNJ is making $2,000,000 available for congregational ministry and to supplement congregation’s budget during COVID-19. You may read more about this and apply here.

Thank you for your leadership.

In Christ,

GNJ Leadership

Quick Links to items mentioned in this letter
Confirmation Service
Health Disparity Tool Kit
Food Pantry Directory
Clergy Appraisals
Reopening Church Buildings