What does it mean to be church in the city in a time of COVID-19? Sustained by the Spirit is a project developed by City Seminary of New York listening to what is taking place on the ground, and sharing what we are beginning to learn. It is about attending to the ways the Spirit is sustaining us in love, hope, and lament.
We are all just beginning to find our way in this time, but a series of questions about faith, ministry, and community in the city have helped shape this effort. How is a world of Christianity in our city living out faith amidst this global pandemic? What can we learn from other cities? With church buildings and physical places of gathering closed, how are congregations engaging in worship, ministry, and mutual support? How are pastors continuing and changing ways of ministerial care? Where are the signs of generosity, resilience, and compassion in the city? Where are we in our spiritual journeys? We can even begin to wonder: how might the church and city change post COVID-19? How will we be transformed?
As we share this resource of stories and practices, please use this as a way of learning in community, for faithful ministry in this uncertain and challenging time. We hope that this resource might help you think about how to respond and engage faithfully to the challenges and possibilities facing us.
We also hope these stories, which will be added to in the days, weeks and months to come, will spark imagination, learning, and community, in ways that complement thoughtful resources for churches in this time of COVID-19 such as these compiled by Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School, The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and The Center for Congregations. Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning offers guidance on online teaching and learning, especially in the context of theological formation.
The Yale Youth Ministry Institute has many resources available, including a Guide to Taking Youth Ministry Online. Miroslav Volf and the Yale Center for Faith and Culture offer a podcast series available on Google, Spotify and Apple called For the Life of the World about faith in a time of pandemic.
As COVID-19 and its impact enter different phases, we will continue to update Sustained by the Spirit. Look for new additions as reopening continues and churches adapt and respond to serve the needs of their congregations and communities.
Please share with us what you are doing and learning at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vaccine Information for Pastors
This is a way of providing information about the COVID-19 vaccine to pastors and churches. Christians and the Vaccine—led by Redeeming Babel and its founder, Curtis Chang—is an online resource that seeks to equip pastors and Christian leaders to help others apply biblical principles to their thinking on the COVID-19 vaccine and, based on these principles, encourage Christians to take the vaccine. They have developed short videos answering common spiritual questions and dialoguing with health experts and Christian leaders. Their Pastor’s Toolkit provides video and PDF resources for pastors to share with their congregations in a variety of ways.
Providing Vaccine Information to Churches
This is a way of providing information about COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Francis Collins, who has been Director of the National Institutes of Health since 2009 and who is a Christian, has spoken recently on a number of webinars answering common questions Christians have about vaccines, encouraging people to get vaccinated, and promoting best practices for churches that are reopening. Watch Dr. Collins speaking here.
Online Roundtables for Leaders
This is a way to equip leaders to better serve their communities. The Global Center for Transformational Leadership, directed by Dr. Ade Oyesile, seeks to spark innovative ideas among leaders, enabling leaders of faith and the marketplace to develop a deeper understanding of the people they lead. On Saturday March 27, GCFTL hosted an event on immigration and healthcare as a part of their online roundtable discussion series for leaders: Dr. Nelson Aluya spoke about “Demystifying COVID-19 and the Vaccine” and Attorney Toyin Omolola spoke as well.
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COVID Conversations with a Young Adult Group
This is a way for young people to learn about vaccines. The Young People's Guild of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana is a gathering of young adults ages 18-30. At their last Zoom meeting, one of the members of the group, who is a medical professional, hosted a question and answer session on COVID and the vaccines. The young people had the opportunity to ask questions they have in a familiar environment and receive answers from a medical professional they know and trust.