Irish Council of Churches. Irish Inter-Church Meeting

Coronavirus (Covid–19) Information for Churches

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COVID–19 CORONAVIRUS particle Computer Generated © Felipe Esquivel Reed / CC BY–SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

This page is intended to be a starting point for churches and Christians seeking information on the various issues churches are facing in responding to the Covid–19 virus. The Irish Council of Churches and Irish Inter–Church Committee are representative bodies and, as such, have no authority or expertise so this page will mainly point to member church resources or other publicly available authoritative sources of information helpful to churches.

The information here is incomplete and we will endeavour to add to it and review it on an ongoing basis.

Contents

Returning to In–Church Worship

Prayer Resources

Member Church Covid–19 Resources

Information from the Government

Guidance and Suggestions of How to Help

Services for Vulnerable Groups

Good news stories

Clergy Self–Care

Still Church (church from home)

Guidance for putting church online

Links to Webcast Services

Resources for Young People and Families

News and Press Releases from Churches


Returning to In–Church Worship


Prayer Resources

Member churches have produced many prayer resources, some intended for use in online broadcast services, some in pastoral circumstances and some for personal use.


Member Church Covid–19 Resources


Information from the Government

Republic of Ireland

As well as general guidance on preventing the spread of infection and preparation of premises, this document includes specific sections for:

Northern Ireland


Guidance and Suggestions of How to Help

Befriending

Volunteering

  • Alone also coordinate a more general volunteer service where people can deliver groceries, prescriptions, fuel or provide telephone support for older people.
  • Follow \#CommunityResponseIRL on Twitter for ideas on volunteering in the community.
  • Faith Sector Coronavirus Action Hub at the NICVA Faith in Community Facebook Page.

Services for Vulnerable Groups

Refugees and Migrants

Covid–19 Information updates from Migrant Rights Centre Ireland

Debt Counselling

Christians Against Poverty are revising their working practices given the current constraints on face–to–face meetings.

Older People

SeniorLine: Third Age Ireland is a national organisation who take care of the elderly. SeniorLine is one of their programmes and could pastorally be very helpful to your bishops, priests and older members of your lay faithful at this time. SeniorLine has been the national, confidential listening service for older people, run by trained older volunteers since 1998. This peer–to–peer helpline for older people receives in excess of 10,000 calls per year. If you are feeling worried, stressed or isolated at this very unnerving time, please feel free to ring this FREEPHONE service anytime between 10am and 10pm on any day of the week on 1800 80 45 91.

Family Relationship Difficulties

Accord has established couple & relationship support phone lines to help relationships during COVID–19


Good news stories

  • Building community with street collective prayer: Many people across the diocese of Down and Dromore took part in Saturday’s Day of Prayer and Fasting and at 8.00 pm prayed the Lord’s Prayer on their doorstep. Some had the joy of sharing the experience with their neighbours

Many churches are making or donating masks for healthcare workers across the island:

Churches responding together to Coronavirus challenges:


Clergy Self–Care

This is a stressful and anxious time for clergy and church leaders themselves as they go about their ministry and pastoral work. Many are amongst the at–risk groups and wonder how to balance the needs of their church community with their own physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Some of these resources may help:

Shout out to those in Christian leadership and ministry during our current pandemic crisis. As a qualified Life Coach should you need an hour of confidential, free, coach support do message me and we can schedule a session online. Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp options available.”

He is available at: mobile +44 (0) 7919016979; email:belfastboy50@hotmail.com

Some Grief Resources

  • From the Irish Hospice Foundation – including grieving in exceptional times, planning a funeral, and helping children grieve.
  • Interview with Orla Keegan, head of education and bereavement with the Irish Hospice Foundation, on grief when you can’t say goodbye: [How to grieve loved ones if you can’t say goodbye – in the Independent.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care have new Covid-19 resources on their website including easy read factsheets on:
    • Grief and isolation
    • Grief and trauma
    • Coping with talk of death and dying
    • Funerals and memorials

Spiritual wellbeing


Still Church (church from home)

Worship and Prayer Resources

  • Presbyterian Church in Ireland – “These Three Remain” – A range of devotions, prayer points, blogs and stories are provided to encourage and equip churches and their members in these days.
  • Methodist Church in Ireland Covid-19 resources – including online resources, worship, ideas for service and safeguarding.
  • C of I Daily Worship app

Bible reading

Prayer Resources


Guidance for putting church online

When planning an online presence for services you need to consider if you want to livestream a service, or record it first and then upload it for viewers to see later. Here are some resources which can point you in the right direction for either option. Licensing issues for songs and lyrics also need consideration.

T he Digital Parish has put several useful posts on facebook including:

For those who are not connected to the internet

Paul Freeman–Powell has written a post showing a way to create a phone number which plays podcasts or sermon recordings over the phone.

It’s moderately technical but enables someone to dial a local phone number (and therefore pay the local rate) which then automatically plays an audio track which could be the sermon from this week’s service, or the whole service itself.

It’s a great way to ensure that all members of the congregation are able to participate even if they haven’t got a computer or smartphone.

Instructions can be found here (thanks to Jonny Mould from Belvoir Parish)


Links to Webcast Services

  • RTÉ

Mass aired every weekday at 10.30am from St Eunan’s and St Columba’s Cathedral, Letterkenny on RTÉ News Now which can be accessed on Saorview (channel 21), Sky (521), Virgin Media (200), Eir (517) as well as via the RTÉ Player, the RTÉ News Now app.


Resources for Young People and Families:

  • Church of Ireland Covid-19: Resources for Family Activities
  • Eco–Congregation Ireland’s (ECI) Climate Justice Candle initiative, whereby churches throughout Ireland have hosted their Climate Justice Candle and focussed on climate justice for a week has had to be temporarily paused. Therefore, ECI suggests that all households can now participate by designating a candle as its very own Climate Justice Candle by decorating it and putting it in a prominent place in the home. They provide prayers that can be used to involve the family and start discussion as to why it is being done and why it is needed, perhaps on a particular day and time each week. Details here.
  • The Church of Ireland Youth Department (CIYD) have produced a resource to help with youth ministry, available here, and their Facebook page will be updated weekly.
  • Irish Methodist Youth and Children’s Department covid19 resources
  • Sunday nights @ 7pm – live youth session on Facebook
  • Fridays @ 12noon – children’s teaching and craft on YouTube
  • Wednesdays @ 4pm – podcast from IMYC

News and Press Releases from Churches

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