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LCMS Eastern District

Congregational Resources during the Covid-19 Pandemic

During this difficult time, the CDC and WHO have recommended reduced gathering sizes and social distancing. In response, many churches are offering online opportunities for worship, whether livestreamed or recorded. Please continue to check this page for the most up to date information. Below is a list of some that are available in the Eastern District:

Report with Implications of the Supreme Court Decision

Covid-19 Protocols for NY, PA and MD
Following is a link for “Covid-19 Protocols” from NY, PA, and MD,

for use in your congregation’s ministry. 

Churches are not exempt from CDC, State, and Local government instructions. 

It is their desire to keep us physically safe.
The charts are intended to instruct you and/or remind you of the required protocols

in your state, subject to government repercussions. 

Variations by county may also apply.
NY, PA, MD Protocols

Start-Up and General Resources

LCEF Resource to assist in the application process for PPP loan forgiveness. CLICK HERE

Questions to Ask Before Restarting On-Site Worship – CLICK HERE

Opening Up America Again CLICK HERE

White House National Faith Leaders Call On COVID Response – CLICK HERE

The Church of 2030 Looks Very Different…and That Future is Bright! – CLICK HERE

Sample Rules for Electronic Voting – CLICK HERE

Attendance Tracking Practices During COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Orders – CLICK HERE

Directives for the Resumption of Public Worship –CLICK HERE

NY Forward Business Re-opening Safety Plan Template – CLICK HERE

CDC’s Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith – CLICK HERE

CDC’s Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses,

            Schools, and Homes – CLICK HERE

CDC’s About Cloth Face Coverings (Masks) – CLICK HERE

LCMS Welcome Back Media Kit for Congregational Use – CLICK HERE

Dr. Anthony Fauci: To keep churches safe, use masks, limit singing and wait

           to resume Communion – CLICK HERE

HVAC Information for Eastern District Congregations –

          ASHRAE Guidance for Eastern District Congregations – CLICK HERE

          Church Facility Systems and Covid-19 PDF – CLICK HERE

Keeping Children and Teens Safe While Ministering Online – CLICK HERE

The Return of the Gathered Saints From Pandemic ExileAs we consider initial steps to God’s people once again gathering in our sanctuaries across the Eastern District after the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan District, LCMS offers some guidance through this blog post based upon learnings from Nehemiah’s return from the Babylonian Exile in order to rebuild the breached wall of Jerusalem. To think that we will simply be going back to business as usual is most likely very short-sighted. Society will have changed. Our people will be changed by their experience(s) and our manner of ministry will be changed: some good, and some difficult to understand at this time – CLICK HERE.  

Before We Gather – Open communication about what to expect, and any changes you plan to implement will help alleviate fear and anxiety. Ask yourself what you’d want to know, if you were a greeter, staff member, elderly church member, etc. Then, develop answers. This article on communication by Brotherhood Mutual will help get you started. – CLICK HERE

Making Sure Your Virtual Church Meeting is Legally Valid –  for online webinar, CLICK HERE

       (Note: A PDF handout for this presentation is available on the same page as the webinar access)

Navigating the Next Steps with a Paycheck Protection Program Loan – CLICK HERE
How churches can prepare to apply for loan forgiveness.

Stewardship Resources

CARES Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act information as provided by Concordia Plans Services and updated on a timely basisCLICK HERE

1) Bi-monthly offering packets are mailed to member homes, by our supplier This a great way to remind members that the church is still alive and going.

2) Approximately ten-fifteen members have monthly/weekly checks automatically drawn against their account, and mailed to the church.
3) On-line payments via easyTithe. So far thirty-one members have enrolled.
If there is a need, I will be happy to assist anyone  who would like all of the details regarding these tools. Have them call me, Ken Knoll, at 716-683-7242)or Karen Baglio at St. Luke.

FOLLOWING ARE SUGGESTIONS of potential electronic online giving providers for your congregation as submitted by your sister Eastern District congregations:

> Joyful Response from LCEF (using Vanco)
> Stewardship Technology
> Giving Fuel
> Vanco
> Thrivent Personal Donations

> LCMS Foundation Online Giving

> Thrivent Federal Credit Union

> Easy Tithe

Online Worship Models

We were asked about options for those with hearing impairments. Here are some options:

·    Good Shepherd, Toledo, OH: Facebook group or Good Shepherd Facebook

·    Holy Cross Lutheran Deaf, St. Louis, MO: Facebook Live or

·   Light Cast Media: Resource for managing livestreaming, closed caption, etc.


Other Creative Ideas

  • Concordia Plans: CLICK HERE for ways they can help.
  • First Trinity, Tonawanda, NY: FT Kids will Livestream a lesson at 10 AM on Sunday mornings. Kids will be able to watch live, or access the video later on YouTube.
  • Good Shepherd, Canandaigua, NY: Roxann Muller, preschool director, is sending a sheet with links to a story video and others things to their preschool families. She would be glad to create a distribution list for anyone who wants those resources.  They will need to be able to print out sheets she is sending with things to do.  She can be contacted via email at
  • Good Shepherd, State College, PA: Facebook live “Fireside Devotion and Prayer” at 8 AM every morning (except Sunday morning). They are going through the Gospel of John one chapter at a time. People can join in by searching for “Bryan Spang” on Facebook. The video will also be posted on their Website at
  • Grace, Canastota, NY: Several members have decided to take up the good old phone calls and are having some wonderful conversations with those of who are house bound. 
  • Holy Cross, Clarence, NY: Sunday morning Adult Bible Study will be taking place digitally through Zoom Meetings at the regularly scheduled time, 9:30-10:30 AM. Please contact Pastor Jeff Nickel at for the Zoom invitation information.
  • Lutheran Hour Ministries: CLICK HERE for their special Covid-19 page with studies to help.
  • Peace, Scranton, PA: Peace Pandemic Caller bingo – call every member on your bingo Card to see how they’re doing. First one that finishes all four cards gets Facebook Famous. Encouraging prayer walking, the forming of House churches with neighbors in groups of ten or less. Wednesday lunchtime Bible study on what the Bible says about the “End Times” starting April 8 on Zoom. Live stream Academy chapels service Wednesday mornings, live stream worship at 10:30 on Sunday.
  • Prince of Peace, Freedom, PA: Monday through Saturday: Morning Prayer at 7 AM; Evening Prayer 8:30 PM (except Thursday @ 7 PM until Holy Week, along with Good Friday @ 7 PM if self distancing is still in place) via Facebook.
  • Salem, Springville, NY: Monday – Friday new daily: ‘Morning Inspirations’ (7 AM release), ‘The Light of Jesus @ Lunch’ (12 noon release), ‘Bedtime Bible Stories’ (7 PM  release). NO ZOOM ID & Password necessary as these are all prerecorded and made available on our FACEBOOK page (Salem Springville) and our webpage ( In addition: Bible studies (Wednesday @ 1 ‘Book of Daniel’, and Thursday 4 pm ‘Discovering The Faith) require pre-notification as the Zoom ID and passwords change weekly.
  • St. John’s, Orchard Park, NY: Posting daily to their YouTube channel with devotions and encouragements. Also doing the same on Sunday mornings for adult Bible study. They are going through the Gospel of Matthew.
  • St. Luke, Cabot, PA: Video messages from the Pastors, daily devotions written by staff, Zoom web-conf bible studies for college and high school students available at
  • St. Mark, North Tonawanda, NY: Offers Virtual Sunday School lessons with Miss Amanda:
  • St. Paul’s, Eden, NY: Offering on Facebook Bible Study – 10 AM every Tuesday morning; Story Time with Pastor Thursday March 26th at 10 AM and then every Wednesday that follows at 10 AM. (It’s just Pastor Lutz telling stories he has written and then discussing them and talking about how to write stories.) On Zoom: Lenten Bible Study that focuses on inspiring videos at 7 PM. At 9:30 AM Thursday mornings starting April 2nd is a bible studly jointly lead by Pastor Tom Lutz and his brother, Steve Lutz (Pastor in Elmore, OH).  Studying brother sin the Bible. Anyone who would like to join these on Zoom send an email to Pastor Lutz at to receive an invite.
  • St. Peter’s, Wilkes-Barre, PA: offering a prayer service every weekday at 10 AM via Facebook live at
  • TJ Mudd, Organist: Offering a nightly hymn sing at 9 PM on his Facebook page.
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