Dear Siblings in Christ,
Like all of you, we, as a Board are learning to meet via our Zoom network and staff are operating in appropriate locations respecting the safe distancing requirements. While challenging, we do want to call attention to the continued ministry of the Conference. Here are some highlights from our staff and the Board from the last 6 weeks.
Blessings to All,
Rev. David Plant, Heartland Conference Moderator
The Board has acted to apply for a loan available through the CARES act to give us resources should we need them in the continuing challenge of Covid19. This loan is designed to protect our employees pay for at least 8 weeks after it is acquired. Be sure that your church also considers taking advantage of these loans which your bank can give you the details about. Please study the issue and its appropriateness for your situations.
The Board is waiting on the arrival of the book Conversation Worth Having which will be used to guide us in regarding our present and future ministry together in order to continue our momentum toward retooling and realigning of the Conference called for in the vision report.
The Board has, for the present, moved to 90 minute Zoom meetings to conduct the business of the Conference. At this point, we anticipate continuing our intention of at least monthly meetings and perhaps more as urgency might demand in a highly volatile time.
The staff of the conference and associations are all working from home as per the direction of the Ohio Department of Health. Fortunately, a change in phone service that our Executive Administrator arranged several months ago that has not only saved the conference a couple of thousand dollars but also has allowed communication to continue seamlessly.
The Association Ministers and the Transitional Conference Minister have been meeting by zoom weekly to support each other and also share about how the pandemic is affecting our various areas of ministry. COVID 19 Pastoral letters have been sent Conference-wide from this team of five leaders. In each letter, there have been resource links attached for a wide array of ministry needs including worship, faith formation, and generosity/stewardship and now the federal programs designed to help businesses and non-profits (including churches) meet payroll. Those may be found by going to www.heartlanducc.org.
Your Association and Conference communications are important sources of up-to-date information.
As all our inboxes have grown exponentially, please take extra care to read these critical documents. Between all of them you will have much information as well as listing of resources to aid your local church and its ministry. Here are a few e-opportunities to aid you in your ministry.
Friday Live has been offered as a live Facebook conversation between Indiana-Kentucky Conference Minister, Rev. Chad Abbott, Illinois South Conference Minister, Rev. Shana Johnson, and Heartland Transitional Conference Minister, Rev. Dave Long-Higgins around issues of ministry and faith in a season of a pandemic. The Conference Ministers are joined by pastors and authors and others who are forging creative responses both for inspiration and information in this unusual time.
Several zoom call opportunities in the areas of faith formation, worship, and rural ministry have been hosted by different settings throughout the conference. The response to these has been positive both in terms of the information shared and also the support which such contact has offered.
Our current anticipated communication schedule is Monday prayer posting by Dave Long-Higgins, a Tuesday camp posting, a Wednesday promo reminder about Friday Live, a Thursday video or pastoral letter, and Friday Live at 3:30 pm. There will be a post Holy Week pause this week. In addition, we will continue to do our monthly email blast, with extra additions to cover timely information.
At the present moment, we are continuing as if our summer outdoor ministry program is going forward. We are continuously reviewing the situation so that, should camp be pushed back or cancelled outright, we can implement continuing opportunities for people to gather under the Outdoor Ministry banner. Registration continues to be open and it is important to complete so that when the time comes we are able to make critical decisions. Information and updates related to the Outdoor Ministry programming can be found by going to https://www.ohioucc.org/all-project-list/covid-19-camp-update-page/.
Our site management group, UCCR, has notified us that they have made significant administrative and site personnel cuts in salaries with all camp sites being closed down to business. To that end the Board has entered into a special arrangement with UCCR to continue site manager employment at full time through the end of May. This will enable us to catch up on some special projects and be in the best possible position to welcome people back to Templed Hills when the gathering ban is lifted.
We thank you for your understanding that every day things are changing and hope this summary provides you with a picture of where things are at this moment. We pray your Holy Week celebrations; however they were shared, were of special meaning to all you are serving in Christ’s holy name.