The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has dedicated a portion of its website to providing resources to help congregations stay connected and remain resilient in this uncertain time of global pandemic.
It also includes ideas for advocacy and even advice in managing church administration and finances as well.
And there are also suggestions for prayer: Gracious God, it is good for us to gather as your beloved in community. We treasure your presence with us in word and meal, song and prayer. Be with us in these days when gathering together as often as we would like is not possible.
Worldwide faith communities have been responding to the pandemic. Even the United Nations released a new section on its climate change oriented ‘Faith for Earth’ website highlighting faith-based organizations and religious institutions’ efforts in mitigating the impact of COVID-19.
The UN added that its webpage highlights only some actions that have been taken and it not an exhaustive or complete list. The effort is part of a long-term project connecting faith communities with environmental initiatives in partnership with the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology.
Within a number of timely links is the World Health Organization’s guidance for religious leaders in context of COVID-19. The WHO free booklet is set up as a risk assessment tool to provide practical guidance and recommendations to support leaders and communities in educating, being prepared and in responding to the pandemic.
“Religious leaders of faith-based organizations and communities of faith can share health information to protect their own members and wider communities, which may be more likely to be accepted than from other sources,” WHO officials wrote back in April. “They can provide pastoral and spiritual support during public health emergencies and other health challenges and can advocate for the needs of vulnerable populations.”
The International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development also has dedicated a portion of its website to guide faith communities grappling with the health crisis.
The global organization in its public statement said, “In times of unprecedented crisis there is need to listen to our faith leaders armed with faith and science, and to our medical establishments, and our governments, and common sense — all of which guide us that temporarily staying away from public spaces – including temples, mosques, synagogues, churches, gurudwaras — to avoid the risk of infecting one another, may well be the most effective means of saving lives.”
Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.