Whiplash! Remember COVID-19?
Last week, we witnessed the tragic death of George Floyd. His murder released new waves of social conversation, violence, prayerful reflection, and a wide variety of responses within our communities. Amazingly, within a few days, the national focus on COVID-19 and COVID-19 recovery shifted. The COVID-19 crisis seems like it is ‘so last week‘…except that it is not. It is part of the background of this very turbulent year.
Leaders now have four massively important challenges to meet.
- How can your church lead a conversation about race in your community? Marching and protesting is our right as American citizens. But that is just the beginning of the current challenge.
- What about the violence, looting, and lawlessness that we see in dozens of our cities? The tragedy of Floyd’s death is being compounded by the lack of restraint and the brazen assault on our liberties and commerce in cities across the United States. How can the church respond?
- How to gather your congregation once again for worship? What is the threat level we truly face? (Hint: it is different everywhere.)
- How can we preach the Gospel and pastor our congregation through the current COVID-Induced economic collapse?
Over the last few weeks, we have been adding sections for pastoral awareness related to the initial aftermath of COVID-19. We have been working to create, collect, and curate resources for a thriving church in the midst of COVID-19, a country turned inside out, and some very uncertain economic times. Thanks for all the contributions that you have made to help us all stay informed.
Here are some things you need to know:
Responding to the Death of George Floyd
- A group of ACNA Bishops wrote A Letter Concerning the Death of George Floyd and So Many Others that was commended to our clergy by Archbishop Foley Beach.
- Anglican Compass published A Letter to Fellow ACNA Clergy: On Anti-Racism and a More Diverse and Just Anglicanism inviting signatures of support from ACNA clergy and others. (Nearly 500 people have signed it as of early morning 6/2)
- Christianity Today has helped us honor George Floyd as a person and fellow Christian.
- Many pastors focused their Pentecost Sunday message on the intersection of Pentecost and the reality of this pastoral context, such as A Nation on Fire Needs the Flames of the Holy Spirit by Esau McCaulley.
- Protests and mass gatherings have been part of the response. Faith and civic leaders, including George’s brother, have been stressing the need for peaceful protest.
Ed Stetzer has pointed out that “social distancing measures were quickly forgotten … portending a potential spike in the coronavirus in the middle of the outcries for justice.”
Pastoral Response to the Initial Aftermath of COVID-19
- We want to highlight Pastoring the Bereaved During COVID-19 again this week. Some of this will be the result of COVID-19, while other hardships will be in the midst of it. COVID-19 will continue to complicate pastoral ministry like hospital visits, end-of-life care, and funerals.
- Information Hub – U.S. News & World Report has a Coronavirus Resource Hub. Data is still being clarified in the midst of this public crisis, but they report over 105,000 U. S. Deaths as of right now. Unemployment claims have gone over 40 Million and our rate of unemployment is at 14.7% based on statistics released from the Department of Labor last week.
- The Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network had a Zoom gathering on Sunday night focusing on praying, raising awareness, hearing stories about the impact of COVID-19 on different communities, and grappling with a response to the death of George Floyd.
- Many are worried about the ongoing and upcoming mental health issues flowing from COVID-19 and the impact of this pandemic.
- Is this an overreach? “An executive order issued Tuesday in Maryland’s Howard County…prohibits the distribution and consumption of any food or drink as part of any religious service, effectively outlawing the distribution of Communion. Read it here.
What is our pastoral response to the rising challenges of financial need, unemployment, and mental health issues?
ICYMI – Effective Ministry and Leadership Resources
As we mentioned, the focus this week was not actually on COVID-19. For example, the latest tool from the Coronavirus and the Church website is from May 15, 2020. We have been looking at some of the research and forecasted trends over the last few weeks. Here are some of the highlights, in case you missed them:
- The Barna Group hosted a Webcast on Caring for Souls in a New Reality based on recent research and trends. Check out the highlights from the webcast where you can also sign up to access the full webcast. The Barna Group also has a recent update on pastoral health featuring several leaders, including the Rev. Tish Harrison Warren.
- Carey Nieuwhof, who works often with the Barna Group, has a new post up on 7 Disruptive Trends Every Church Leader Should Watch right now. He also has an on-demand training resource to help church leaders move into what is next called The 30 Day Pivot.
- Praxis Labs has a full collection of resources for Leading Through COVID-19. Their resources help leaders take the pandemic seriously and get their organizations ready in the spirit of “pray for the best, plan for the worst.”
The Nicene Creed from GAFCON for Pentecost Sunday
Late last week as many of our pastors and leaders were re-writing Pentecost Sunday sermons, GAFCON released this beautiful video version of the Nicene Creed in several languages. Here is the version in English:
This is the tenth COVID-19 Resource Roundup from the Evergreen Project Team. Each is intended as a stand-alone collection of resources to encourage the Body of Christ and equip Anglican leaders.
The Evergreen Project is an ACNA effort led by Canon David Roseberry of LeaderWorks. Archbishop Foley Beach and Canon Alan Hawkins have tasked the team along with Canon Phil Ashey and the American Anglican Council to collect, create, and curate resources to help ACNA congregations in this unique time. We want to help by pointing busy pastors and ministry leaders to things we are finding helpful amidst the vast amount of content being produced and published right now.
Do you have a resource or story to share?
Our point of contact for each week’s Resource Roundup is the Rev. Daniel Adkinson – danieladkinson [AT] me.com.
The Rev. Daniel Adkinson serves as the founding rector of St. Thomas Anglican Church in Athens, GA. Prior to moving to Athens to plant St. Thomas, he served for almost a decade at Christ Church in Plano, TX. He is married to Holly and they have two children. Daniel and Holly met while in college at the University of Georgia. So, they love being back in the Classic City!