Resources for Staying Connected During Coronavirus

Use Technology to Stay Connected

Following social distancing policies to reduce infection rates of COVID-19 will require congregations to redefine the concept of "together". Stay connected with congregation members, committees, and church staff during the weeks ahead using technology.
Members of Presbytery staff use or have used the resources below:
  • Facebook Live - free real-time video broadcasts; video stays on your page, but also can be uploaded to YouTube; if your page is public, users do not need a Facebook account to view
  • YouTube - free video hosting
  • Skype - free group video calling for up to 50 people
  • Free Conference Call - free group calling and video conferencing; users may experience long-distance telephone charges
  • GoToMeeting - videoconferencing; $12 per month for meetings for up to 150 participants
  • Zoom - videoconferencing; free for meetings up to 40 mins with Internet audio or $14.99 per month for unlimited time and telephone option

These are just a few of the many options available. PCMag lists others you may wish to consider.

Be aware that demand on these technologies and our internet capabilities is increasing every day as businesses and organizations implement remote work practices.

Free Conference Call recommends starting calls or meetings at odd times, such as 1:15 or 2:40 instead of on the hour, to help ease resource demand.

Help is Available

If paying for technology is a financial hardship for your church, you will appreciate knowing that POJ's Trustees are prepared to help. Complete an expense report to request reimbursement for video- or audio-conferencing services during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

POJ's associate for communications may be able to help with your technology questions. Email Kelley Hope for assistance.

Have questions about live-streaming and social media or need someone to brainstorm with? E-mail Mari Graham Evans, social media strategist for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, at social@pcusa.org.

Presbyterian Foundation Offers Financial Resources Specific to COVID-19 Crisis

The Presbyterian Foundation has put together a collection of resources and information with faith communities in mind during the COVID-19 crisis.
Find:
  • Information from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
  • Stewardship suggestions
  • Licensing guidance for streaming worship services
  • Online giving services
  • Market update if you have invested with the Foundation.

Online Giving a Practical Option During Social Distancing

If you are not currently offering online giving, this would be a good time to have this option available for your congregation. Even if people are using online bill pay, or mailing a check to the church, that still requires someone to come to the church, count the checks, go to the bank, and make a deposit. In contrast, online gifts are deposited directly into the church’s bank account.

The Presbyterian Foundation has the lowest cost option available. Learn about the program and email your application to get started. Once the application has been processed, you will receive a link for a “Give Now” button to place on your website or social media. Depending on the demand, this process takes 5 to 7 days.

Olanda Carr, ministry relations officer for our region, is available to answer your questions. Contact Olanda at 888-711-1318 (toll free) or by email. Deborah Rexrode, POJ's associate for Stewardship, also can help. Contact Deborah at 434-996-6032 or by email.