From Bishop Lewis
- A Statement on Holy Communion During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Do no harm: A message from Bishop Lewis
- RE: Essential Personnel Childcare Services during the COVID-19 Emergency
- CFA prioritizes 2020 apportionments
- COVID-19: A letter from Bishop Lewis and the Virginia Conference Cabinet
Return to In-Person Worship
For some time, we will be living with the impact of Covid-19. Therefore, we are planning to resume in-person worship gradually and with great care.
-The Bishop’s Back to In-Person Worship Workgroup of the Virginia Conference, May 13, 2020
Bishop Lewis calls for Noon Prayer
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis has issued an invitation to the Virginia Conference to join her at noon every day in praying a prayer she has provided. “Let us invoke the power of the Great Physician to do a mighty work in eradicating this disease all over the world,” she writes.
Click here for the invitation and the prayer.
Alexandria District Information
DS Jeff Mickle holds a weekly Zoom call with clergy on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m.
Arlington District Information
DS Sarah Calvert holds a weekly ZOOM call with Arlington District Clergy at 3:00 p.m. on Thursdays.
- Online Worship Counting Policy
- Updates for Arlington Churches, April 14
- Clergy Vacation Policy Updates
- Clergy Move Date updates and information
- Updates for Arlington Churches, April 7
- A letter to Arlington District clergy and churches from Arlington District Superintendent Sarah Calvert (3/17)
- March 12 Letter from Sarah
- Flu Season: Things to Consider
Arlington District Churches will find the May 17 worship pieces from Sarah here.
The CARES Act
- The CARES Act May Save Your Church
- The CARES Act Will Save Some Churches
- CARES Act: Aid for the Local Church
Wespath and The United Methodist Church general agencies, along with other organizations, have issued summaries of the provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act provides assistance to employers (churches) by establishing a loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the Small Business Administration (SBA). More… (pdf)
In response to inquiries that GCFA staff members have received, we offer the following informational content as you navigate how to proceed with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
To the extent that a United Methodist local church may need to provide evidence of its 501(c)(3) status as part of the application process for a Paycheck Protection Program loan made available by the CARES Act, or in relation to any other financial assistance that is available pursuant to the CARES Act or any future economic stimulus legislation, it can provide a letter from GCFA stating the local church is included in the denomination’s group exemption ruling. If a local church does not have such an inclusion letter from GCFA, the local church can quickly obtain one via the group ruling website, which is available here:
If all of the information generated through the site is accurate, a local church can obtain a letter in about 5 minutes. If some information is incorrect, a local church can submit a comment to have that information corrected. (Unless a change is needed, a local church should leave the comment field blank, so as to not delay receiving a letter.) We are aware that local churches may need inclusion letters quickly, so we will be closely monitoring the need for any changes and will respond as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, while an inclusion letter from GCFA does verify that a local church is a 501(c)(3) organization, it does not preclude the possibility that some banks will ask for different supporting documentation or may not understand the significance of the documentation they are being provided by the local church. IRS Publication 4573 provides important information about the meaning of an organization being included in a group exemption ruling. If a local church runs into a problem, providing a copy of Publication 4573 may be helpful in educating the bank, or other relevant entity. That publication is available here:
The GCFA Legal team has reviewed the recent Federal legislation. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) concerning paid leave for employees and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act related to unemployment insurance and church staff. We’re honored to provide you with a list of frequently asked questions with our interpretation of the legislation. You’ll find a document for each Act attached as well as link to those documents on the GCFA Website below.
SBA Paycheck Protection Program
Many of you have churches in your areas of responsibility that are considering or have already decided to apply for a loan through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). I am writing today to let you know that The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU) is a participating institution in the program and would be happy to assist any UMC church or related organization in this regard. Please forward this email to anybody that might need this resource.
Our online application and other information about the SBA program is available at https://www.tumcu.org/sba-
Discipleship Ministries Resources
From Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church
Are there resources that you are needing during this crisis? Are there resources you can share with the wider connection as we all seek to support one another? Please send your needs and ideas as well as helpful resources to pulse-497968063@
Discipleship Ministries asks for your help in by answering a breif survey, which focuses on online worship needs and practices, and congregational needs at this time. https://www.research.net/r/ONLINEWORSHIP2020
Leadership in Times of Crisis
Fairfax County Resources
From Fairfax County
In an effort to ensure you are receiving accurate and timely information, Fairfax County has created a webpage that includes updated information and community resources at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/covid19. You can also view the emergency blog, and stay in touch using the County’s social media platforms and through text messaging (Text FFXCOVID to 888777 to receive updates).
The Health Department has a dedicated phone line that residents can call if they have questions 703-267-3511 (9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends) . If you have congregants who are in need of support please have them call Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) 703-222-0880 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays). Residents can also visit the Human Services Resource Guide (HSRG) at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hsrg/ , an online, searchable guide to available health and human services resources in Fairfax County.
An updated list of community-based resources for food assistance and donations can be found at: https://www.fcps.edu/news/coronavirus-update-food-resources. Residents who want to contribute are encouraged to consider making monetary contributions and grocery gift card donations to our community-based organizations partners.
The Virginia state Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity are hosting Stakeholder Engagement Calls this evening and tomorrow. Please see below for information and registration links:
- African American Stakeholders Engagement Call | Monday, April 6, 2020 | 5:30 p.m – 6:30 p.m
- LGBTQIA+ Stakeholders Engagement Call | Tuesday, April 7, 2020 | 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m
- Recording: Asian American and Pacific Islander Stakeholder Engagement Call (April 2)
- Recording: Latinx Stakeholder Engagement Call (April 3)
As churches prepare to open their buildings in the coming months, the following products will be necessary (in some states required) to hold services and keep church members safe. Learn More
Faith Communities Guidance Document
Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office of the Governor VEST Health Equity Work Group PDF Document
Healing Icons with Cathy Abbott
This project is part of Arlington Arts Center (AAC)’s Art and Wellness series, exploring the connection between art and healing from various cultural and spiritual perspectives.
You will find several templates of healing icons created by Cathy Abbott on the following pages. The first two were created directly in response to the current coronavirus crisis, with the virus depicted as the “demon” in the center. Print out the templates and color them in as you wish. As you color, the artist suggests that you meditate or pray about someone in need of healing, the coronavirus situation, or any other threat to health.