Keeping Congregations Connected: Strategies and Tools for COVID-Related Outreach
Keeping Congregations Connected in the Face of COVID19 is a blog series on strategies and tools for doing and being what God is calling your congregation to be and do in the current pandemic. Click here for the previous post
How can our congregations do effective outreach while the COVID pandemic makes social distancing necessary?
How can our congregations contribute to controlling the Coronavirus?
These are two important questions to ask and answer during the current pandemic (and there are likely many more)…
First, ground yourself in hard data from reliable sources about Coronavirus and COVID-19: What is it? What does it do? How does it spread? How can people both protect themselves from the virus and avoid spreading it to others? How do you know you might have it? What do you do if you think you do? What COVID-related resources are in your area?
Reliable, data-grounded sources and resources include:
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Perhaps the most authoritative source, the CDC has pages for general, faith-based, community, and individual-oriented COVID information and recommendations.
Your Judicatory or denominational websites. My own Judicatory, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, for example, has an entire page dedicated COVID information and resources, including links to all local health departments within its bounds, and my denomination, the Episcopal Church, also has a very useful Concerning COVID-19 information and resources page, including links to the COVID advisory pages of most of its dioceses. The Episcopal Church Foundation is also compiling a curated list of COVID resources.
MapDash for Faith Communities. Those judicatories and congregations who have or have access to this powerful demographic and analytic missional assessment and planning platform will soon be receiving updates to their dashboard, including localized data on incidences of COVID-19, hospital locations and capacity, locations of doctors, COVID-related Twitter feeds, and more. (Full disclosure: FaithX is an affiliate of Datastory, the GIS firm that developed MapDash with our assistance).
MapDash for COVID-19. A free version of MapDash focused exclusively on COVID-related data, including mapping socially and economically vulnerable neighborhoods.
COVID-19 Tracking Dashboard. Johns Hopkins and ESRI partnered to develop this tool that provides regular infographic updates on the cumulative number of COVID-19 infections, active cases, deaths, and recoveries by country, state, and some larger cities.
Watch for future posts in this series, which may include:
Tools and strategies for hosting online fellowship.
Tools and strategies for facilitating online bible study and formation.
Tools and strategies congregations can use to locate and reach populations most vulnerable to COVID19.
Tools and strategies by which judicatories can resource their congregations
Tools and strategies for giving opportunities for giving by mobile phone or online.
Things people can do to create a sense of community with their own neighbors and neighborhoods.