The COVID-19 pandemic has forced churches to greatly alter how they minister to their members and serve the communities that they are located in. Below are several resources to help guide congregations as they continue to express their love of God and live as Christ in loving others in these trying times.
(Inclusion of a resource does not necessarily indicate endorsement by NCC or its member communions)
What Your Church Needs to Know to End the Pandemic
(We encourage copying and sharing this information within your denomination.)
Many of the Unvaccinated Do Not Know How to Find a Vaccine – Sharing simple information on where to find vaccines is essential right now.
By website: vaccines.gov
By text: send zipcode to GETVAX (for English) or VACUNA (for Spanish)
By phone: 1-800-232-0233
To find a vaccine through a website: Go to vaccines.gov input your zip code and find out which pharmacies and other providers have COVID-19 vaccine doses in stock. You can choose the type of vaccine you want to receive – Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, 0r Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID Vaccine.
To find a vaccine by text: If you text your zipcode to GETVAX (for English) or VACUNA (for Spanish) you will get a message back with three possible vaccination sites, with phone numbers to call for an appointment.
To find a vaccine by phone: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233.
Many pharmacies and other vaccination sites are now offering walk-in appointments and vaccinations are free of cost and do not require ID. [5/6/21 flier]
Some Who Mistrust the Medical System Trust the Church – Churches can easily extend their food, clothing, childcare, and housing ministries to incorporate a vaccination effort in these simple ways:
• Continually educate through social media, newsletters, sermons, homilies.
• Share vaccination stories, photos, quotes from clergy and church staff. Also, share stories from parishioners who were hesitant but got vaccinated or have compromised immune systems or are unable to get vaccinated but are encouraging others to do so.
• Have conversations and listen to those who are not yet vaccinated to hear their reasons. Be trained or research how to effectively have these conversations.
• Call or text all members of the church to make sure they are vaccinated.
• Canvas the local neighborhood around the church with vaccination information.
• Drive people to get vaccinated or make sure they know they can get a free ride to a vaccination site from Uber and Lyft until July 4.
• Investigate the requirements and then contact local health officials or pharmacy providers to offer the church as a vaccination site, including after a church service.
• Join the White House COVID-19 Community Corps for more information and how to volunteer during the upcoming Month of Action from June 4 until July 4 by community canvassing, phone banking, and texting to get people vaccinated.
Disinformation is being targeted at disenfranchised communities – Two thirds of the unvaccinated believe the myths that are being shared. NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins emphasizes that we have not seen any of the side effects that are rumored to exist. There is no evidence of infertility and the vaccines are not harmful for pregnant women. There are no tracking devices in the vaccines. The vast majority of clergy have been vaccinated along with doctors with none of these side effects.
The vaccines won’t work for 5% of our community – The vaccines don’t work for patients who are on chemotherapy for cancer or who are on suppressants for organ transplant so we must get vaccinated because they cannot. Getting vaccinated to save their lives is the ultimate way to love your neighbor.
There are ‘rural pharmacy deserts’ without vaccination sites – Churches can fill this void. As Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner said, “Go right to the people like Jesus did.” Research and find mobile vaccination resources which are being used to reach underserved, high-risk groups, essential workers, and rural communities. These efforts are coordinated by public health departments in indoor or outdoor settings, with support from local public health clinics, health care providers, pharmacies, community and faith-based organizations, employers, and private-sector vaccinators.
CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Faith-based Organizations These are resources church groups can use to promote getting vaccinated.
Faiths4Vaccine website – a multi-faith movement for equity in vaccine distribution that provides information for faith leaders on how to address vaccine hesitancy and use houses of worship as vaccination sites. #Faiths4Vaccines
The Episcopal Church Toolkit for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Financial Resources to Share
Eviction Prevention: the federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ended.
Rental Assistance Toolkit – State and local organizations are distributing federal rental assistance in their communities. The money can help landlords and renters who are struggling to keep up with rent and other bills.
COVID Funeral Assistance from FEMA
Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center offers financial help
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life in a Lingering Pandemic 6/8/21 from the Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments (a group of clergy, scientists and other experts with representation from United Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic leaders, as well as representatives from other traditions)
Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments
Coronavirus Resources – Wisconsin Council of Churches
Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19 and Beyond – World Council of Churches and Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit & Planning Guide For NYC Faith Communities (12/4/20) NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the Fund for Public Health in New York City, New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS)
17 FAQs for Houses of Worship Considering Reopening Amid the Coronavirus Crisis – Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative, Center for American Progress
African Methodist Episcopal Church COVID-19 Center
Guidance for Reopening Churches – African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources – Alliance of Baptists
COVID-19 Information Center and Resources – American Baptist Churches USA
Disciples and COVID-19 – Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
COVID-19 Resources and Recommendations – Church of the Brethren
Preparing to Reopen In-person Congregation Gatherings – Community of Christ
Concerning COVID-19 – The Episcopal Church
#ELCAChurchTogether – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
COVID-19 Resource Page – International Council of Community Churches
Coronavirus Resource Information – National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
Church and COVID-19 – National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
Resources for Coronavirus Outbreak – Orthodox Church in America
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resource Center – Presbyterian Church (USA)
COVID-19 Response – Progressive National Baptist Convention
Coronavirus Church Resource Center – Reformed Church in America (Faithward)
Coronavirus and the Church – United Church of Christ
Coronavirus Inspiration, Information, and Resources – The United Methodist Church