May 1, 2021: The new Conference PRG ("Post-Covid Re-entry Group) will incorporate members of the current workgroups and will begin the proactive work of resourcing churches for ministry in the coming post-pandemic environment. The group will also continue the focus on assisting churches to engage in safe practices as they conduct in-person worship and ministry. Local church PRG teams (replacing HCTeams) will continue to plan and execute safety measures for the churches. However, we ask that the churches will soon adapt their conversations to reflect, rethink, and reshape their vision to effectively provide ministry in the Post-COVID era. If the church did not have a clear vision, this will be a time to develop a vision, which is aligned to the Mission Statement of the United Methodist Church, ‘Making Disciples of Jesus Christ, for the Transformation of the World’ and the vision of the Virginia Annual Conference ‘to be disciples of Jesus Christ, who are Lifelong Learner, who Influence others to Serve.’
Conference asks that local PRGs still submit changes using the M.A.P. (found in the new Phase 3 TAM -link below) to your District Superintendent for review. Churches/PRGs that wish to ease their mitigation measures beyond the above allowances should plan to implement those measures after May 28, 2021, after submitting them to your District Superintendent for review.
NEW Technical Assistance Manual (TAM) -Phase 3
Just Released! A plan to oversee how churches would safely return to in-person worship!
In a letter from May 9, Bishop Lewis shared that a return to in-person worship would be phased beginning with "drive-in" worship for all churches under strict guidelines and the authorization of some "pioneer" churches to open on May 24 under strict guidelines.
A workgroup of church leaders, medical professionals, and legal professionals have prepared a comprehensive plan which includes: summary of the plan, handbook, visual presentation, and more for churches to plan on how to approach this phased return to in-person worship. Details are available on the Virginia Conference website at www.vaumc.org/return
Conference Treasurer’s Office
providing CARES Act Help Desk
April 4, 2020 -- The conference Treasurer’s Office is staffing a “help desk” this week to assist churches with applying for loans under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act. This loan program contains a loan forgiveness clause to enable our churches to continue to pay the pastor and staff, mortgages and utilities. There are limited amount of funds available under the program so churches should not delay.
To contact the help desk, please call 804-521-1100 and either select ‘2’ or ask the receptionist to connect you to the Treasurer’s Office. You may also email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, church and telephone number with all emails.
Help Desk hours of operation:
Sunday 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Monday 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
The Treasurer’s Office will continue to respond to other questions during this time; however, CARES Act questions are being prioritized, so you may experience a delay for answers to general questions not related to the CARES Act.
You can find more information about the CARES Act on the conference website: http://www.vaumc.org/ncfilerepository/News2020/CARESAct.pdf.
Click here to download a pdf copy of this information.
Cares Act: Churches eligible for a loan, Begins April 3!
The CARES Act does apply to churches and other not-for-profits. What this means is that each church is eligible to apply for a loan to support payroll, mortgage interest, utilities and other expenses. This program is being administered by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), and the application must be made directly by Borrower through SBA-affiliated banks. We encourage the Finance Committee of each church to consider applying, as this program may be the best way to provide liquidity for this period when church services have been suspended.
*****A practical Conversation about churches and the Cares Act and the Payroll Protection Loan Program. This video is very helpful! Go to https://youtu.be/s-FgK6j9b1M
Document available for certificate of affiliation to assist with loan process:
To the extent that a United Methodist local church may need to provide evidence of its 501(c)(3) status as part of the application process for a Paycheck Protection Program loan made available by the CARES Act, or in relation to any other financial assistance that is available pursuant to the CARES Act or any future economic stimulus legislation, it can provide a letter from GCFA stating the local church is included in the denomination’s group exemption ruling. (Note: you will need your church's GCFA number to complete the application. Your church treasurer and your EVC church site has that information) If a local church does not have such an inclusion letter from GCFA, the local church can quickly obtain one via the group ruling website, which is available here: http://umgroupruling.org
Frequently Asked Questions for churches
Virginia Conference COVID-19 Precautions
Revised April 2, 2020
Click here to download this information in pdf format.
8 Week Plan for Pastors and Church Leaders
DS Joyner encourages Pastors to develop an 8-week plan for ministry with your leadership in case the current environment continues. A simple table to get you on your way is provided below:
Eastern Shore UM Churches provide Online Worship and Bible Study services:
Christ UMC, Chincoteague with Pastor Joe Carson is going Live on Facebook, Sunday, March 22 at 10 am EST
Coastal Charge (Assawoman, Atlantic, and Downings UM churches -Pastor Hodae Kim will provide a recorded sermon though Facebook, YouTube and email beginning 9:30 am, Sunday March 22. FaceBook pages:
Cheriton Charge (Cheriton and Travis Chapel UM churches). Pastor Virginia Greer will share a recorded sermon on FaceBook church pages Sunday morning, March 22. Prayer time on Facebook Live begins 9 am on Travis Chapel FB page and 11 am on Cheriton's FB page.
Craddockville U.M. Church live sermon each Sunday with Pastor Rob Kelly at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006132169027
Pastor Bart Weakley at Market Street U.M. Church offers weekly gospel lessons on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.weakley
Adams and Bloxom Mission churches' Pastor Greg Duncan will lead a live sermon in a Zoom meeting beginning at 9 am, Sunday, March 22. Contact Rev. Greg Duncan for Zoom information.
Franktown and Epworth churches will be recording their combined Sunday Service on March 22 and it will be posted on their respective FB pages.
Franktown UMC FB page
Epworth UMC FB page
Pastor Gary C. Miller of St. John's UMC is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom Worship on Sunday and Zoom Prayer:
Topic: Sunday 9am ZOOM WORSHIP by computer or smart phone
Topic: Sunday 11am ZOOM WORSHIP by computer or smart phone
Topic: Morning Zoom Prayer / Every week on Mon, Wed, Fri. by computer or smart phone
Contact Rev. Gary Miller for Zoom information)
New Beginnings UMC with Pastor Fred Okello will hold a live service on Sunday, March 22, 10 am. Contact Rev. Fred Okello for Zoom information.
Find UM Churches in our Virginia Conference who have livestream worship services
Learn how to prepare your church for livestreaming:
The Eastern Shore is coming together during this pandemic. This is a great way to help!
Shore Delivery Corps is a community effort on Virginia's Eastern Shore (Accomack & Northampton counties). Shore Delivery Corps’ Mission: To assist our fellow Eastern Shore citizens who are at the highest risk for serious complications from the COVID 19 pandemic with the intent to keep this population at home and out of public places. We are engaging volunteers who are at the least risk of COVID 19 severe complications to deliver the needed medical supplies and prescriptions as well as perishable and non - perishable groceries to the doorsteps of the COVID 19 high risk population in as practical a virus free manner as possible. This mission is able to be accomplished as a result of the excellent partnership of the Eastern Shore Community Foundation and The United Way of VA’s Eastern Shore.
Go to Virginia Conference website for Bishop's letters and other information for our Va. Conference churches:
Visit UMC website for helpful information at https://www.umc.org/en/content/coronavirus-what-to-know-how-to-help?fbclid=IwAR0e10EFu2n4pNBDITF01eeRlKpCPhItOZhzg27lFfoc4
Resources from Va. Employment Commission
A Note from the Virginia Annual Conference’s Treasurer’s Office:
We, at the Virginia Conference office, feel for you during this unprecedented time. We would like to present you with a few resources from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) as reference materials if you or your employees are faced with difficult staffing decisions.
For Employers: Even though churches are exempt from the Virginia State Unemployment tax, their employees are covered by the State Unemployment Tax Act (SUTA). Therefore, employees of our churches are eligible to apply for full and partial (with a significant reduction in hours) unemployment benefits. There is an employer’s handbook for your reference on The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) website. Please visit www.vec.virginia.gov.
For Employees: Potentially eligible employees could be part-time (with a significant reduction of hours) or full time. Eligible employees should apply for benefits by contacting The Customer Contact Center of the Virginia Employment Commission either by phone at 1-866-832-2363 (available 8:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday- Friday) or online at www.vec.virginia.gov.
Questions for Conference Treasurer, David Dommisse, email him at email@example.com