Coronavirus Resources for Churches
Resources about Reopening/Resuming Worship
- A comprehensive resource from the Wisconsin Council of churches. Click Here.
- A checklist of questions to think about from Donegal Presbytery in Pennsylvania. Click Here.
- A webinar from the Synod of the Trinity on the theological, ecclesiastic, and practical considerations of resuming worship. Click Here.
The New York State Council of Churches was proud to co-sponsor Re-Opening Houses of Worship: The Intersection of Religious Freedom and Congregational Safety with the New York Conference, United Methodist Church, along with The New York Board of Rabbis, New York Interfaith Disaster Ministries, Bronx Christian Fellowship, Hindu Temple Society of North America and others. We commend the webinar to your congregations and suggest you pass it through your networks to invite discussions about regathering in religious facilities.
Bishop Tom Bickerton, Resident Bishop of the New York Conference, United Methodist Church, offers a thoughtful pastoral and theological case for why houses of worship, out of love for God and neighbor, need to move very cautiously in re-opening and abide by the science and government directives consistent with that science. Other panelists include: Dr. Jay Varma, Epidemiologist and Senior Advisor, Science and Program, Africa CDC and a senior health advisor to Mayor DeBlasio, Joel Cohen, Senior Counsel, Strook & Strook and Lavan, LLP, The Reverend Dr. Que English, Bronx Christian Fellowship, Rabbi Joe Potasnik, Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis, Peter Gudaitis, Executive Director, New York Interfaith Disaster Ministries, The Reverend Peter Cook, Executive Director, New York State Council of Churches and Uma Mysorekar, President, Hindu Temple Society of North America.
To aid congregations in their decision making process, please see the New York State Council of Churches’ Disaster Response Page. The page contains A Statement on COVID from New York Faith Leaders, the Council’s first webinar ReopeningRe-Opening Houses of Worship and Economic and Racial Justice During the Pandemic, and reopening guidelines from most of the Council’s member communions. We also commend to you Governor Cuomo’s website, New York Forward, which has Statewide Guidelines for religious facilities including a sampling of denominational guidelines.
NYS Re-opening Requirements and Guidelines
From NYS Daily COVID-19 Update on Wednesday, May 28th
Each business or entity, including those that have been designated as essential under Empire State Development's Essential Business Guidance, must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out this template to fulfill the requirement, or may develop its own Safety Plan. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval but must be retained on the premises of the business and must made available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection.
Grant Money to Help Congregations
The presbytery is offering up to $500 per congregation to use for whatever you need to stay connected in these challenging times. We're calling this the 2020 Staying Connected Grant.
We make no stipulations about how you use the money; your session can determine what is best for your ministry.
So if you want to buy a camera for live streaming or a router and internet access or anything else that will help, we have $500 to make that happen.
Simply fill out this form and email it to Dave Johnson, PSV Finance Chair at , or mail to:
Pastor Dave Johnson
Cortland United Presbyterian Church
25 Church Street
Cortland, NY 13045
Our Creative Ministry Fund is enabling this to happen.
~~ the PSV Cabinet
Free Conference Calls
Have members who don't have Facebook but want to connect? You can have a conference call through FreeConferenceCall.com . This may be a way to stay connected. Once you sign up, you will be provided with a Dial-in Number and Access Code for immediate conferencing, and an Online Meeting ID for hosting meetings with Screen Sharing and Video Conferencing.
Your account is available to you 24/7 and there is no need to schedule or make any reservations. Each audio conference can accommodate 1,000 callers on an unlimited number of free conference calls.
Mid-Council Partners: The following letter will be sent to all loan customers
Dear Partners In Christ,
As many of you know, the CARES Act recently passed by Congress that provides financial assistance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic includes an SBA loan provision. This Small Business Administration (“SBA”) provision offers $349 billion in loans with preferred terms to assist for-profit and non-profit organizations during this challenging time. The specific program is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Legal counsel for the denomination has reviewed this CARES Act and believes that churches do qualify to apply for these loans.
In order to apply you must go through a financial institution that is an SBA lender. The Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program is not allowed to be an SBA lender due to government restrictions. You may want to contact your local bank to see if they are an SBA lender or if they know of one in your area. A list of lenders in your area can be found on the SBA website. In case you do not have sufficient information on the PPP loan program and the application process we have provided you with some resources that we believe are helpful.
The Treasury Department has published a list of resources which they recommend you read to keep up-to-date on the PPP. You may reach Treasury's resources through the following website: https://home.treasury.gov/cares This website has an excellent summary of what is being offered and a direct link to the application. You can apply beginning this Friday, April 3, 2020. There is a limit on the funds available so timing may be important. Here is a quick summary of the PPP:
- Loans are administered by SBA Approved Financial Institutions
- Loans are lesser of $10 million or 2.5% times average monthly payroll costs incurred during the 12-month period prior to the loan date
- Calculations for seasonal and new business can vary
- Interest rate on residual loans is 4% or less
- Term of the loan is up to 10 years
- Deferral is 6 to 12 months (interest accrues during deferment)
- Prepayment is eligible
- 501(c) (3) nonprofit organizations are eligible
- Usage can be for payroll and related benefits, interest on mortgage payments, other debts, rents and utilities
- EIDL loans may not be refinanced into a PPP loan
- No collateral needed from church or its members
- No guarantees needed
Please also refer to the denomination’s legal counsel summary of the CARES Act. You will find information on the PPP in the first section of this CARES Act summary.
We recommend that you inform your presbytery of your congregation's intent to apply for PPP. For further information you should refer to the Department of the Treasury website or your SBA lender.
You remain in our prayers.
James G. Rissler
President & Chief Executive Officer
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Investment & Loan Program, Inc.
For church members