Coronavirus Disease and the Church:

Resources for a Faithful Response

"The Lord is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble."

This page will compile resources from within and beyond Southwest Pennsylvania to assist churches in responding with faith, courage, and skill to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you would like to suggest a resource that might be added to this page, please email us.

Jump to a category of resources:

Public Health Information

When seeking medical information about Covid-19, trust these reliable sources:

From Church Leaders in Southwest Pennsylvania

Bishops and Judicatory Executives have offered pastoral words and practical advice to their congregations:

Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh

Bishop Jim Hobby: "While this is a highly anxious time in our culture, we know that the Lord is seated on His throne in the heavenlies…and He’s not wringing His hands. Therefore, we can trust in Him and come to the throne of grace. An earlier pastoral letter from Bishop Hobby is available here. The diocese has also compiled a resource list available here.

Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Orthodox Church in America

Fr. Bill Evansky, on behalf of Archbishop Melchisedek: "His Eminence also stated that out of 'something bad, perhaps something good can come about' - this period of limited interaction 'opens the window of opportunity' to individually 'plunge' into the quiet depths of Holy Lent by increased personal prayer, Bible study, and time with the myriad of good Orthodox materials available through the internet and our Orthodox bookstores. Let us use self-discipline to make this occur throughout the Archdiocese!"

Beaver-Butler Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rev. David Oyler: "We are living in unprecedented times. And these times also provide the opportunity to serve God in unprecedented fashion, recognizing that faith is greater than fear."

Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh

Archbishop William Skurla: "Byzantine Catholic faithful traditionally greet one another with a powerful proclamation our firm belief that Christ is present with us always and everywhere ... We can be assured of this regardless of anything we face, whether it is something that brings us great joy, or something that poses a threat to us, like the Coronavirus spreading throughout the world."

Pittsburgh Baptist AssociationABCOPAD

Rev. Jeff Johnson: "God has got this, because God has got us."

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in PA and WV

Rev. Thaddaeus Allen: "Love has mandated a new schedule and way of life. Perhaps this can be received as a gift of time that will allow us to refocus ourselves as we turn toward God in new ways."

Diocese of the U.S.A., American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church

Bishop Gregory of Nyssa: I know that these are confusing, conflicting, frustrating and scary times. The sky is not falling and it is not the end of the world.  However, it is a trying time and we must be patient with one another.  Please continue to pray in your homes with your families and ask God to extend His hand to calm our fears and remove this pestilence from among us.

Eastern American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Bishop Irinej: "We are all truly responsible for one other, as the Venerable Silouan of Athos said, “My brother is my life.” May our Lord grant that we continue this Lenten journey, honoring His Life-giving and Saving Passion with faith and courage, as we make necessary sacrifices for the physical and spiritual well-being of all, in light of His Glorious Resurrection.

Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

Bishop Dorsey McConnell: "Our churches are not closing. We are continuing to do what we have always done, to love, teach and heal in the name and power of Jesus Christ. We are continuing to offer prayer for the Church and for the world, to support the weak, to comfort the afflicted, to bless the dying, to soothe the suffering. We are simply adapting the means by which we do these things to the needs of the present crisis." Earlier pastoral letters from Bishop McConnell are available here and here.

Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh

Metropolitan Savas: "We are called to respond as the Body of Christ in a way that will protect the most vulnerable while remaining faithful to our identity as a community of prayer."

Kiskiminetas Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA): Coronavirus Resources

Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Bishop Darin Moore: "Rather than overreact I propose that we wisely react. Use this international crisis as an opportunity to strengthen our most essential Christian practices of love, mercy, justice, and community. The church must be focused our healing and helping not only our members, but our communities, and our neighbors."

Penn West Conference, United Church of Christ

Rev. David Ackerman: "Our response must be fueled by faith and love, not by fear.  This is neither the time to pretend that we are invulnerable heroes nor the time to avert our eyes from human need and suffering.  I believe that we must think theologically and Biblically and that we must act responsibly." Rev. Ackerman also posted a video message here.

Pennsylvania Conference, Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Elder Gary Gibbs: "This is an opportunity for us to share words of hope, encouragement, and the gospel with our neighbors. People are looking for something to bring peace and assurance. We have that message."

Pittsburgh Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Dr. Sheldon Sorge: "I encourage us to think not only of what we might prudently curtail for a season, but also where we might expand our commitments to our life together. Perhaps we’ll not meet for a meal, but we could be more vigilant to bring meals to the sick and elderly who must be especially mindful of the need to shelter in place."

Redstone Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Rev. Skip Noftzger: "As leaders in our Christian communities, we bear the responsibility to pray, prepare and act wisely without fostering fear."

Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg:

Bishop Edward Malesic: "In these days we are assured that Christ does not abandon the people he loves.  Be assured of my prayers for you and for all those you love. Join with me in asking that the Divine Physician bring healing and comfort to all who suffer during this time and always." The diocese offers Health Alerts here and Spiritual Resources here.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Bishop David Zubik: "As painful as it is to be deprived of the Mass, we are followers of the Great Physician who would never want us to risk making others seriously ill. Our Catholic faith is more than what we believe; it’s how we put our belief into action with our words, deeds and interactions for the glory of God and out of Christ-like service to each other. This is a time when we are called to love God and our neighbor, drawing closer to Jesus, doing all that we can to ease the hardships of those around us." The diocese also offers spiritual resources and safety alerts here.

Southwestern PA Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Bishop Kurt Kusserow: "The goal and purpose of suspending large gatherings is to slow the spread of the virus. That is, to provide care for our neighbors, to preserve life, to live as a community that seeks the well being of all its members, especially the most vulnerable. The Church has a long track record of seeking to live in just this way."

Western PA Conference, United Methodist Church

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi: "Be confident that in the midst of all of our anxiety, frustration, uncertainty and fear, we have a very real, steady, faithful God who is with us. Our faith reassures us that even when we cannot trust in anything or anyone else, we can trust in God and God’s presence with us." The church has collected resources here.

Western PA Division, Salvation Army

Major Raphael Jackson: "We will continue to do everything possible to provide for those in need. People have turned to The Salvation Army in times of crisis for over 150 years. To face this challenge, we are going to need help from the community."

From Churches in the Denominational Setting

Denominations have collected useful resources and pastoral words on these sites:

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

"We encourage all Christians to pray fervently that our Lord may comfort and heal those already affected by this virus, and grant strength and wisdom to those working to combat and control the virus."

Anglican Church in North America

"In the midst of uncertainty, we trust God. He is sovereign over human history and over our lives."

American Baptist Churches USA

"Let us lead the way as we discuss our concerns about this illness and other matters with our friends, family, and neighbors. May we express concern without panic, calmness in our questions, and kindness in our conversations."

Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

"We pray that our Lord, the Physician and Healer of our souls and bodies, will look down on our world with mercy and compassion and speedily deliver us from this pestilence. We also pray that He will grant to all of us faith and love, courage and strength, wisdom and discernment to do our part – each and every one of us."

Bruderhof

"Like Paul instructed the early followers of Jesus, the antidote to fear is the power of love which will give clear thinking and positive action. How can we roll up our sleeves to help stop and dispel the spread of death and fear? Action in thought, in word and deed is needed. And action in prayer."

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

"We sometimes focus on the numbers and the maps, yet we are reminded that each reported case of the virus has behind it a person, a family, a community."

Episcopal Church USA

"In this time when we are all affected by the coronavirus, whether directly or indirectly, whether physically, biologically, psychologically, spiritually, and for many economically, it may be helpful to remember that we're in this together."

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

"Luther's counsel, based on Scripture, is still sound. Respect the disease. Do not take unnecessary risks. Provide for the spiritual and physical needs of the neighbor. Make use of medical aid. Care for one another, especially the most vulnerable."

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

"The Church has faced such challenges in the past – even devastating plagues. Today, we possess the advantage of scientific knowledge and the good common sense that can see us through this crisis."

North American Lutheran Church

 "I am concerned for a long list of things, for these and many more, but I am not afraid…neither should we, as a Church, be afraid."

Orthodox Church in America

"As the body of Christ, we should meet the challenges posed by this virus with the assurance of faith, in oneness of mind, and in imitation of the Great Physician and Healer of souls and bodies, our Lord Jesus Christ."

Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

"While it’s important to remain vigilant and alert to potential dangers from this virus, we must continue to trust in God through all developments, remaining calm in a time of distress, extending compassion to those who are suffering, and praying for the healing of the world."

Salvation Army

In a video message, The Salvation Army's international leader General Brian Peddle has urged Salvationists and friends to "find ways to demonstrably care and still be the Army who serves." 

Seventh-Day Adventist Church

"We take cautious guidance from Ellen G. White: 'God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating the laws of health and make no efforts to prevent disease.'"

United Church of Christ resource list

United Methodist Church

"Discussing health in the church dates back to John Wesley, who wrote extensively about staying physically healthy, as well as spiritually healthy."

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

"United with our Holy Father Pope Francis, let us pray in solidarity for our brothers and sisters here and around the world who are sick. Let us pray for those who have lost loved ones to this virus. May God console them and grant them peace."

 

General Resources

 

Theological Reflections

Prayers and Worship Resources

Pastoral Care Resources

 

Technological Advice for Digital Worship

 

Livestreamed Worship from Southwest PA Churches

​This is not a complete list; add your church by emailing us.

Addressing Economic Impact, Acts of Bias, and Care for the Most Vulnerable

Working with Children

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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