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COVID-19 Resources

 

The LCMS Northern Illinois District has assembled a report of resources and information on the reopening of our churches and schools.

Part II is a a guide in reopening schools and early childhood centers, and will be a tool which guides school leaders and educators throughout the school year with the latest on how best to operate a healthy educational environment. Download Report (Updated 7/23/2020)

Part I includes information for our churches on best practices as well as outreach and ministry to those in need. Download Report (Updated 5/14/2020)

 

General Resources:

School Resources:

Early Childhood Resources:

 


Crisis Support – Responding to Church Workers Suffering Financially

Covid-19 has dramatically affected our world in a variety of ways including making a global economic impact that has directly affected congregations and many church workers, perhaps even you. This has rapidly left many of our synod’s workers in economic distress.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, and the Northern Illinois District have joined together in creating a response to this economic downturn, designed to provide some temporal relief for those suffering financially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This assistance is driven by the Soldiers of the Cross – Covid-19 Response Fund.

With the financial support of the Northern Illinois District and other LCMS entities, this fund is available to all church workers whether called, rostered, or lay workers, who serve in our Northern Illinois District ministries (congregations, schools, and RSOs). These funds will be distributed through reviews of those who submit the application below.

If you are a church worker in the LCMS Northern Illinois District and find yourself in need:

Print the information sheet.

Print application form. 

(Updated 4/14/2020)

Your Help is Needed

The need is urgent. As you are able, please prayerfully consider supporting this initiative for our church workers in the Northern Illinois District through your gift of any amount. May the Lord richly bless your generosity.

 

 

 

 

Donations may also be mailed to LCMS Northern Illinois District Office, 2301 S. Wolf Road, Hillside, IL  60162, Note: Soldiers of the Cross.


The Apostle Paul often opened his letters with such a greeting as this: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:3) These words from our Lord are true today as well and especially needed in these hours. The coronavirus pandemic is a serious and growing concern as the number of those affected with it rises to over 100,000 world-wide. Yet, rather than respond to this crisis with dismissive apathy or fearful panic, as the followers of Jesus, we have the opportunity to reflect the comfort of His grace and the peace He has imparted to us in how we care for fellow believers and our surrounding community.

Our Lord has given to us His love which casts out fear (1 John 4:18) through His Word and Sacraments, and His abiding promise to provide us with all we need to support this body and life. The latter of these promises He often fulfills through the care and service of others. The NID staff has assembled the following resources on our website for use by our congregations, schools, and ministry partners to equip us all to help combat the spread of this illness and to ready us to be Christ-like caregivers to our neighbors in this time of need.

In these hours of seeming uncertainty and potential fear, what an opportunity our Lord gives us as the Church to proclaim Him to those around us! According to His merciful will, may our neighbors see and hear from us who know our Savior our confident hope in His redeeming grace and the compassionate touch of His loving heart.


 Video message from President Allan R. Buss: Jesus Has Us
“We don’t have answers but . . .
Jesus does have the answer.
Jesus does have us.
Jesus does have you.”


What Can We Do As the Church?

We are all concerned about coronavirus (COVID-19) as it spreads throughout our communities and nation. Many are rightly asking, “What can we do to be prepared?” The very first step of preparation is prayer. We engage in prayer for all government officials, medical professionals and hospitals, the sick, the caretakers, those who mourn, and an end to the spread of this virus.

Our staff is monitoring the announcements, including those from the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health. We have assembled on this web page, and will continue to assemble, resources for churches and schools. While your church or school may have unique circumstances to your community, we hope to bring together ideas that are adaptable for all, in communication, worship, pastoral care, leadership and community outreach.

The resources provided are from a wide range of authorities and may be used as you see fit for your community. We encourage you to be that “city on a hill” in sharing “His love which casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

If congregations or schools would like assistance in areas of outreach, stewardship, community care ideas, etc. beyond what we have on our web site, please email Rev. Kris Whitby, Assistant to the President Missions and Ministry, for further assistance.

Financial Stewardship in COVID-19 – Resource from Rev. Kris Whitby, Assistant to the President – Mission and Ministry

Developing the Divine Service for Greater Engagement Online  – Resource from Rev. Kris Whitby, Assistant to the President – Mission and Ministry  (Updated 3/30/2020)


CARES Act (Passed 3/27/2020)

Inquiries regarding legislative information on the CARES Act, as applicable to The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod,  should be directed to Concordia Plan Services’ website at concordiaplans.org . They have been given the directive for the interpretation of this act as applicable for LCMS. Please allow them the opportunity to update this information.

 

General Resources:

All services provided by the LCMS Northern Illinois District will continue without interruption, and you will be able to reach staff members by phone or email. Link to staff directory

Please check directly with the sponsors of any events we have shared to verify their status.

 


Resources for Churches:

In this presentation, Chaplain (Army Lt. Col.) Steven C. Hokana, assistant director of LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces, shares a word of encouragement for pastors who are struggling through the current coronavirus pandemic. Although there is a period of trial now (which Luther called “Anfechtung”), there is hope through the Gospel.


Resources for Schools:

  • Restore Illinois Reopening of Early Childhood Centers (Updated 5/26/2020)
  • A Statement on Calls during the coronavirus – President Buss (Updated 3/24/2020)
  • Joyful Response (electronic giving) – Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) offers an electronic giving platform called Joyful Response for accepting online gifts through your website, a mobile phone app, ACH or text-giving. This platform is available for LCMS congregations, schools and registered service organizations (RSOs).  If you are not currently set up to take electronic payments, please contact Vanda Toner at 224-423-1867 or Vanda.Toner@lcef.org. For additional information, please visit LCEF’s website at https://lcef.org/joyful-response. (Updated 4/7/2020)
  • LCEF Loan Remedies – As your ministry partner, Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) understands the concerns you are experiencing as we navigate through these unprecedented times. LCEF has employed numerous financial tools to help our borrowers, including several specifically put in place by our COVID-19 Response Team. Assistance is available to eligible Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregations, organizations and rostered church workers.Congregations should contact Vanda Toner, LCMS Northern Illinois District Vice President for LCEF, at 224-423-1867 or Vanda.Toner@lcef.org.RSOs and rostered church workers can find the appropriate contact information online at https://lcef.org/business-continuity-statement. (Updated 4/7/2020)
  • ISBE Updates: check the updates frequently on www.isbe.net . The home page has updates about remote learning from March 31 until in person instruction is allowed again. (Updated 3/31/2020)
  • Watch for information put out by your county health department.
  • Be alert to communication from your local public school district.
  • Follow protocol of the Centers for Disease Control cdc.gov

 


Resources for Parish Administrators:

  • Joyful Response (electronic giving) – Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) offers an electronic giving platform called Joyful Response for accepting online gifts through your website, a mobile phone app, ACH or text-giving. This platform is available for LCMS congregations, schools and registered service organizations (RSOs).  If you are not currently set up to take electronic payments, please contact Vanda Toner at 224-423-1867 or Vanda.Toner@lcef.org. For additional information, please visit LCEF’s website at https://lcef.org/joyful-response. (Updated 4/7/2020)
  • LCEF Loan Remedies – As your ministry partner, Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) understands the concerns you are experiencing as we navigate through these unprecedented times. LCEF has employed numerous financial tools to help our borrowers, including several specifically put in place by our COVID-19 Response Team. Assistance is available to eligible Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregations, organizations and rostered church workers.Congregations should contact Vanda Toner, LCMS Northern Illinois District Vice President for LCEF, at 224-423-1867 or Vanda.Toner@lcef.org.RSOs and rostered church workers can find the appropriate contact information online at https://lcef.org/business-continuity-statement. (Updated 4/7/2020)
  • FFCRA Employee Rights (Updated 3/26/2020)
  • LCEF Business Continuity Statement (Updated 3/24/2020)
  • LCEF offers an electronic giving platform called Joyful Response, for on-line gifts through your website, a mobile phone app, ACH or text-giving. This platform is available for LCMS congregations, schools and registered service organizations (RSOs). If you are not currently set up to take electronic payments please contact<insert DVP name> at <insert phone number> or <insert email address>. For additional information go to LCEF’s website at lcef.org/joyful-response (Updated 3/26/2020)
  • How to join a Zoom meeting:


If your church and/or school is providing HOPE and PEACE to members of your community, please let us know by emailing office@nidlcms.org and we will add your service. You are encouraged to contact your community leaders to see how you may be of help during this time. Below are some opportunities to serve your neighbors

  • Phone Live Streaming – Create a phone number that anybody can dial into and listen to a live event, such as a church service. This works well if you have members who have trouble with computers and smart phones and want a simple way to tune into your message. Members who are traveling and unable to safely watch a video and those who have limited, or no internet access also will find this helpful. Click link to google document for set up instructions. Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. Information at www.audacityteam.org(Updated 4/8/2020)
  • Neighborhood cards
  • Use your building as an immunization center,  when the time comes. (St. Matthew, Hawthorn Woods)
  • Set up meal/snack service for those children in your community who rely on school lunch services.
  • Use church lay leadership and school staff to engage with the home bound of not only your church but others you may know of. Phone calls become more important at this time so that they do not feel alone.
  • Have students write note cards to home bound. (Trinity Lutheran School, Lombard)
  • Provide additional devotionals and prayers. People turn to the church in times of distress.
  • Take every opportunity to expand your audience for devotions and prayers through social media, print, mailings,etc.
  • Families posting their family devotion or their kids reading a Bible story as an encouragement for their on-line, social media community.
  • Call through for a wellness check, family to family, as one family in the church directory calls the next one up, alphabetically.
  • Consider hosting/organizing a blood drive as expected donations on an already taxed system has or is expected to drop by 50%.
  • Delivering Food & Other Goods To Neighbors Who Are Sick & Without Local Family (Leave bags at door)
  • Serving Weekly To-Go Meals To The Needy Via A Drive Thru
  • Having Elders Check On Their Households Monthly And Deliver Any Food & Other Goods To Our Church Families
  • Live-Streaming A Live Bible Study Once A Week And Inviting People To Participate By Texting Questions Live
  • Opening Our Sanctuary Up For Individual Prayer by appointment

 

 

 

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