COVID-19 CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE

PREPARE YOUR CONGREGATION

TO RESPOND TO COVID-19

CONGREGATIONS NEED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

If you are a congregation or individual that can assist churches with the basics of getting set up for online worship and online giving let us know. If you are a church in need of technical assistance submit a request below.

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Faith leaders uniting, empowering and mobilizing one another to respond to COVID-19

The COVID-19: Faith Leader Insight Series is an ongoing series of video interviews with local faith leaders about how their churches are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. New interviews are being added frequently. Follow us on social media and subscribe to our e-news for updates on the newest interviews.

FAITH LEADER INSIGHT SERIES

WAYS TO STAY UPDATED

 

CONGREGATIONAL LEADER UPDATES

Every Tues & Thurs 4:00 PM 

Join us using the Zoom meeting link or dial in by phone. To ask questions during the conference call, please use the Zoom app (desktop | iphone | android) from your phone or desktop computer. If possible, please email any questions you would like addressed on the call to thomasina@houstonresponds.org.

NOTES FROM PAST CALLS

3-24:

3-26:

SUBSCRIBE FOR EMAIL UPDATES

Zoom Meeting ID: 756 118 602

Meeting Link:

https://zoom.us/j/756118602

Dial in: +1 669 900 6833

One-tap mobile #:

+16699006833,,756118602#

COVID-19 RESOURCES & INFO

 

Below are useful resources for your leaders and volunteers to use when planning best practices and informing your congregation.

RESOURCES FOR CONGREGATIONS

Center for Disease Control

Preparing Congregations for COVID-19.

CoronavirusandtheChurch.com 

Resources to assist churches and ministry leaders to prepare for and respond to the Coronavirus.

Humanitarian Disaster Institute

How to Prepare Your Church for the Coronavirus

LifeWay: Online training and checklists to help plan, prepare, and protect your people from the pandemic.

Corona Response Training for Churches

Lifeway: Free online training with 4 videos, 7 ministry specific and checklists, and a sample pandemic policy.

A Concise Coronavirus Guide for Churches

Christianity Today: Tips on forming a plan, staying informed, and caring for those affected.

Sample Letter for Essential Businesses & Activities (Revised)

Sample letter for volunteers and employees commuting for "Essential Businesses" or "Essential Activities" during the Stay-At-Home Order .

 

Getting Started with Church Online Equipment

Open.Life.Church: A quick guide to help you get started with streaming your online church services, no matter your budget.

Using Facebook Live for Online Services

YouTube: How to Facebook Live for any size church

Internet Essentials During COVID-19

Comcast: Allowing for 60 days of free internet to new customers and $9.95 after for those who qualify.

SPECIAL: Online Giving for Churches

LifeWay: The Generosity online giving platform is now available to all churches with no setup or monthly subscription fees.

Online Donations with Facebook

Facebook: Receiving donations for your non-profit on Facebook

Online Donations with PayPal

PayPal: Receiving donations for your non-profit using PayPal

Free Video Conferencing & Collaboration

UCToday.com: The Guide to Free Video Conferencing & Collaboration

Using Zoom Video Conferencing

Zoom.us: Webinars and tutorials to help you most effectively use Zoom.

Using Google Hangouts for Free Video Chat

Business Insider: How to set up and use Google Hangouts, Google's free phone call and video chat service, on desktop or mobile

RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES

Renter's Relief

The Texas Supreme Court has issued a statewide emergency order suspending all residential evictions effective immediately. Up-to-date information provided here.

State Waivers

Vehicle registration, parking placards for persons with disabilities, and titling waived. Details here.

Unemployement Due to COVID-19

Texas Workforce Commision: Apply for benefits either online at any time using or by calling 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. CT, Mon - Fri.

Learn at Home

Scholastic: Day-by-day educational projects for kids 

Lifeway Kids at Home

Lifeway: Weekly media-driven Bible studies for kids at home 

COVID-19 Resources for Employers

Littler: How COVID-19 is affecting various aspects of employment law.

Internet Essentials During COVID-19

Comcast: Allowing for 60 days of free internet to new customers and $9.95 after for those who qualify.

Tax Relief

IRS: The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. More info here.

Daycares Available for Essentials Employees

List of daycares around Houston available for children of "essential" employees.

 

COVID-19 FAQs

WHAT IS A STAY-AT-HOME-ORDER?

Several local counties have issued stay-at-home orders putting tighter restrictions in place for the public and and outlining the contequences for violations of the orders. Click here to read details of what a stay-at-home order means.

WHAT DOES THE “STAY AT HOME” ORDER MEAN FOR CHURCHES?

Faith leaders may minister and counsel in individual settings, so long as social distance protocols are followed. Religious and worship services may only be provided by video and teleconference. Religious institutions must limit in-person staff to those necessary for preparing for or conducting video or teleconference services, and all individuals must follow the Social Distancing Guidelines, including the six-foot social distancing.

 

DOES THIS ORDER MEAN THAT STAFF IS NO LONGER PERMITTED IN OUR PLACES OF WORSHIP?

Key staff is allowed on site for specific purposes such as necessary office tasks (e.g. mail, payroll, etc.), and recording services

HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE THE VIRUS IN THE GREATER HOUSTON AREA?

To find the most current number of identified positive cases click here.

 

WHAT IS SOCIAL DISTANCING AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR US?

Social distancing is a way to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 by avoiding large gatherings of people and keeping at least six feet of distance between one another. More information here.

 

HOW LONG WILL THIS PERIOD OF SOCIAL DISTANCING LAST?

At this time, people are being encouraged to be diligent in following the suggested safety protocol to minimize the duration of the outbreak. The CDC provides updates on the amount of social distancing is being recommended.

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE REGARDING BEST CLEANING PRACTICES?

The CDC website has a disinfection guide on how to keep your space clean.

IF I THINK I'M INFECTED, HOW DO I GET TESTED?

Use the Harris County/Houston Coronavirus Disease online self-assessment tool to help determine whether you may need further assessment or need to be tested for COVID-19 and to receive further instruction. People in other counties should call your local health department and meet certain criteria before you get tested. A step-by-step guide can be found on the CDC website.

 

WHAT DO WE DO IF SOMEONE IN OUR HOME IS INFECTED?

At this time, the CDC is asking for anyone who has the virus or thinks that they might have the virus, to be practicing social distancing, even within their own family or home. The CDC recommends these precautions for households where a member has COVID-19 or symptoms. 

WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO THOSE THAT ARE VULNERABLE AND/OR POTENTIALLY AFFECTED?

If you or someone you know is potentially affected by COVID-19, Ready Harris is available to guide you through what that person may need specifically. Visit ReadyHarris.org for more information.

 

SHOULD WE SHY AWAY FROM SMALL GROUP GATHERINGS?

Yes. However, if a meeting is necessary, take precautions keeping a distance, washing hands, etc.

WHAT DO WE DO NOW THAT OUR CONGREGATION HAS SUSPENDED IN-PERSON SERVICES?

All congregations are encouraged to implement technical solutions for setting up online services and donations. A list of resources are available here.

WHAT DO I DO IF SOMEONE EXPOSED TO THE VIRUS HAS ATTENDED A SERVICE AT OUR CONGREGATION?

Contact your local health department for guidance on steps to take. Multiple helplines for Coronavirus related questions have been set up. Use suggested guidelines for cleaning and safety.

• Harris Co. 832-927-7575 9am-7pm

• Fort Bend Co. 281-633-7795 M-F 8am-5pm

• Galveston Co. 409-938-7221 M-F 8am-5pm

• TX Dept of Health 1-877-570-9779 M-F 7am-8pm

OUR CONGREGATION IS HOPING TO MAKE SURGICAL MASKS FOR HOSPITALS. DO WE HAVE BEST PRACTICES ON HOW TO MAKE THEM PROPERLY? This video shows you how to create a mask with a filter pocket and adjustable wire.

 

HOW CAN WE SERVE OUR COMMUNITY DURING THIS TIME?

  • Multiple volunteer opportunities can be found here.   

  • Individuals can help by providing childcare to neighbors and friends that may need help during this time.

 

WHAT ARE WAYS FAMILIES AND SENIOR CITIZENS CAN GET FOOD DURING THIS TIME?

  • The Houston Food Bank has created "grab & go" lunches to allow families to "drive-thru" to pick up lunches. Click here to see locations.

  • CrowdSource Rescue connects volunteers to assist with no-contact food deliveries to high-risk Houston residents.

  • Meals on Wheels is also providing "drive-thru" and no-contact food deliveries for homebound senior. Click here for more information on applying or volunteering.

WHAT CAN MY CONGREGATION DO TO HELP WITH FOOD DISTRIBUTION?

Churches can apply to become a temporary distribution center with the Houston Food Bank by emailing partners@houstonfoodbank.org.

Visit HoustonFoodBank.org to see where there may be a need for additional temporary agencies near you.

DISCLAIMER: 

All information, links to information, ideas expressed, services referenced, companies mentioned and all other data and verbiage (collectively, referred to as information) included on this website and in the pdf document is FOR INFORMATIONAL USE ONLY! Houston Responds, has tried to provide on this website and in the pdf documents herein, helpful information for those looking for resources due to COVID-19.  HOWEVER, Houston Responds, nor any of its staff, employees, volunteers or anyone else associated with Houston Responds, have verified, investigated, vetted, tested or substantiated any of the information included herein. Therefore, Houston Responds does not make any representation of any kind, expressed or implied, as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise as to the information provided on this website or websites linked to this website, nor to the suitability or otherwise of the information to your particular circumstances.

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