April 16, 2020
Dear ABCNYS Pastors and Churches:
We gathered on Easter. It may not have been gathering in the way we would have presumed a few weeks back, but we gathered using various types of technology (phone, YouTube, Facebook Live, Zoom, etc., etc.) and praised the Risen One through our prayers, our songs and proclaiming the Gospel!
Now on the other side of Lent/Holy Week, we may look at the greening of our lawns and budding of our trees and think about Spring and Summer. Then we remember we are still carefully navigating the social distancing and public health needs of COVID19, plus the attendant economic, social and personal challenges still ahead. What do we do?
ABCNYS churches are blessed to have each other in this challenging time. Through our Region, opportunities to help support and strengthen churches are available, and I hope you will share word of these resources through your church’s own communications. (It’s also a great time to invite your church members to join our email list or Facebook page. Send a note to email@example.com to be added to email. Simply look up the Region on FB and ensure you click the “like” to get our updated postings!)
The Region is concerned for our pastors moving forward through difficult times. For pastors who may experience financial hardship due to church budget shortfalls, ABCNYS will offer a one-time grant, up to $500, to pastors serving ABCNYS churches. Beginning now through October 31, 2020, please contact Rev. Jerrod Hugenot (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an application. This ministry support is made possible by the ABCNYS Psalm Fund.
NOTE: As we shared in our April 1, 2020, Region email, MMBB is offering assistance to its members enrolled in the comprehensive pension plan. We encourage MMBB participants to inquire about these assistance opportunities. 1.800.986.6222
On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, we will offer another opportunity for pastors around the Region to connect with our Region staff. Using GoToMeeting, we will gather online (or by phone!) to support one another and check in.
USING TECH IN CHURCHES
Many ABCNYS churches have discovered new tech for worship, e-giving and maintaining a sense of church fellowship. Perhaps you’ve even discovered the tech has increased your reach and connectivity with more people! ABCNYS will be offering opportunities to talk about technology and share “best practices” learned from our new (or perhaps already well established) forays into streaming services, providing e-giving and other opportunities.
We will be announcing more about this initiative. In the meantime, if you’d like to be part of this conversation (or offer to help explain the mysteries to new learners), please let Rev. Jerrod Hugenot know (email@example.com). We may find that even under duress, the church has learned new and creative ways to be church and extend our reach!
Also, if you have interest in Zoom as a platform, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies recently negotiated a lower-cost license for individuals wishing to use Zoom. Set up a free log-in to their new MinistrElife platform (www.ministrElife.org). Any American Baptist, lay or ordained, can have a free log-in and basic account. Then check out the “pay to use” features under the “Extend” package, which allows you to use Zoom for a low annual fee of $100 ($8.33 per month). Questions? Please contact MinistrElife staff via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Jerrod Hugenot
Associate Executive Minister
American Baptist Churches of New York State