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ACTing in the Time of Coronavirus

Summary: ACT is suspending all in-person meetings, but we're still being leaders in Anne Arundel County. In this post: evictions; community food runners; and a weekly check-in Zoom meetings every Tuesday from 2:30-3:30pm.


This is a long post, but there's a lot of good stuff in it.


We had a clergy and strategy team meeting this morning (March 13) via Zoom, an online videoconferencing tool. We shared the incredible ways we are being leaders in the community right now. That said, effective immediately, ACT will suspend all in-person meetings, trainings, and actions through the end of March.


We will still be community together. We need your help to do it.


WEEKLY LEADERSHIP CHECK-IN

First, we're going to do a weekly leadership check-in every Tuesday from 2:30-3:30pm via Zoom. This will be an opportunity to raise community concerns, creative approaches to worship or prayer, and any other issue we need to raise in order to connect. Please plan to join this circle every week, as we're going to need one another! To join, click here, install Zoom, and join online: https://zoom.us/j/386868234. Or call (929) 205-6099 and enter in Meeting ID 386 868 234.


COUNTY UPDATE: Evictions, utilities, food security, childcare, missed work and

Second, we had a leadership call with the county executive's office, where we asked for their help regarding concerns about evictions, utilities, food security, childcare, and salaries. Here’s what we’ve learned, and where we need your help:

1) The county is suspending all evictions for the time being. Please pay your rent if you can as it will still be due, but if you cannot due to a loss of income related to social distancing measures, you will not be evicted during this time. The joy that has been expressed by Resident Services Coordinators at apartment complexes we shared this news with has been deeply uplifting.

2) Utilities. While the county will be talking with the state and BG&E about electricity, water will not be turned off during this time of emergency. Please pay your bills if you can as the costs of water will continue to accrue over this period of time.

3) Food Security. Schools will be starting their "summer meals program" on Monday, meaning that they will begin delivering meals to drop-off points throughout the county (here). We need to go further, though, and make sure that people aren't congregating just to collect food. Therefore, ACT offered to coordinate amongst our member organizations to work with the county to make sure that food and other supplies are delivered to our most vulnerable people, including children and elderly people. If you can be a “food runner,” please email Ryan at preachsirmons@gmail.com with your name, phone, and institution. We will be looking for 30-40 people county-wide, or reach out to your core team.

  • Also, ACT is convening a call with Resident Services Coordinators (RSC) at apartment communities across the county to work with them to provide services to people at their site. If you have a relationship with any RSCs, please put them in touch right away. We're going to keep in touch with RSCs as well should they be aware of food or other shortages in their communities, and they will let us know.

  • The following congregations have already volunteered to find people to do this "runner ministry:" Joy Reigns Lutheran, Revolution Annapolis, Ark and Dove Presbyterian, UCC Annapolis, St. Philip's Episcopal, and First Presbyterian of Annapolis. Thank you! Email Ryan at preachsirmons@gmail.com to find out more.

4) Childcare. The county is reviewing how to provide childcare in this time. If your faith community might be able to help in the provision of childcare, please be in touch right away. Many people who need to work in places such as healthcare will need this.

5) Salaries for temporary workers. The county intends to use its authority to pay temporary and contract workers who are not able to come to work due to COVID-19 prevention measures. The county executive and ACT will talk with the superintendent about making sure funding is provided to temporary workers in our schools, such as TSAs, as well.


Team Meetings. All team meetings will go ahead, but will switch to Zoom. As we near those, we will send out how to connect with each meeting.


Communal worship. Our leaders told us that we need communal worship now more than ever. If you want to help plan and conduct an online service that we can hold together, please email Rev. Dr. Carletta Allen at asbury1pastor@gmail.com so we can pull this together soon.


We have got to keep being ACT in this time and this place. Let's stay connected, let's keep in touch, and let's continue to lead.


Peace,

Pastor Tim Stern, Ark and Dove Presbyterian Church, ACT Co-chair

Pastor Karen Johnson, First Christian Community Church, ACT Co-chair (is on a church retreat this week)

Rev. Ryan Sirmons, Lead Organizer email



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