This resource was written and adapted by Rev. Lisa Garcia-Simpson & Rev. Ashley Horan as a reflection guide for congregations and small groups during these times. Downloadable PDF here!
CHURCH INFRASTRUCTURE (DURING COVID)
- Is a staff member present at the congregation? (regularly, once a week to pick up mail)
- Can printing and copying be done at your congregation?
- Can your parking lot and/or outside shady areas be used as a place to distribute materials, collect donations, or gather is a socially distanced way for your congregation or the wider community?
- Do you have a tent, tables and chairs to create an outdoor socially distanced space?
- Can you offer your congregation’s parking lot or shaded area (large tent, etc.) for community-based Covid testing?
- Do you have a lot of refrigerator space for local perishable food donations? (collect and store until distribution).
- Is your congregation located near active protests? If so, could it function as a safe home-base for street medics, movement chaplains, water station, etc.?
- Is your congregation near a busy road / location where signs and protests would be highly visible
COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
- What are your primary tools for communicating with your congregation? (Weekly Church Newsletter, Facebook, in-service announcement)
- Does your congregation have a zoom account that you can use and/or that you can offer non-profits or other emerging local groups to use?
- Does your congregation’s wi-fi extend to outdoor shaded/ sheltered areas that could be made available to organizers, students without internet, etc?
- What are your congregation’s most successful tools for quickly mobilizing people to direct action and/or call for donations in a short period of time? (i.e. rally happening in 4 days from now, emergency call for funds for _____)
- Do you have a phone/communications tree where members are set up to quickly pass information along to other members?
- What is your membership? Average online Sunday attendance?
- What traditions and regular events in your congregation are a means of mobilizing people to action and/or raising money to be in solidarity with partners? (Share the plate, Annual day of Service, etc.)
- Do you have volunteers who are willing to drive materials to individuals? (volunteer materials, voting resources, etc.
- Do you have congregants who are willing to volunteer or work at the polls during early voting and election day?
- Are you located in an area (town, county, voting district) where community partners need local volunteers?
- Are there known instances of voter suppression in your area?
- Are there any ballot initiatives or bills up for a vote that align with your congregation’s values and your members want to take a public position on? [NOTE: 501(c)3s and nonprofits are allowed to advocate for issues, but not to endorse or support specific candidates]
- Are there particular electoral races that you would like to organize a candidate forum for – in an effort to promote candidate education and accountability?
- Are there particular areas in your region where there is a significant number of disenfranchised, marginalized voters?
- Is there an important issue that you/ your congregation cares about (medicare for all, the Green New Deal, etc.) that you want to promote or engage voters in conversations about? [NOTE: 501(c)3s and nonprofits are allowed to do values-based canvassing as long as we don’t support a specific candidate.]
- Based on your county, district, and municipal races this election cycle, what local issue-based work are your partners calling on your congregation to focus on?
- Who are your elected officials and what decisions are they making right now?
- What advocacy needs to be done locally and state-wide to ensure a fair and safe election in November?
- Youth who are active in movement and/or able to teach the congregation about youth-led movements and amplify efforts.
- Relationships with those who hold power locally (e.g., local or state elected officials, Higher Ed Institutions, interfaith groups, non-profits, police/sheriffs, etc.)
- Justice Committees / Groups within your congregation
- Spanish speakers (or speakers of other languages widely spoken by members of your community)
- Musicians, singers
- Artists (particularly visual, to make banners, signs, graphics, etc).
- Social Media experts
- Volunteers to take pictures and video of actions (doesn’t need to be professional, just present and able to upload/post quickly)
- Web design
- Writer/ videographer/ PR/ media outreach
- Fundraising / Willing to Donate
- Pastoral Care
- Organizers / Canvassers
- Movement Chaplains
- Street Medics
- Lawyers able to donate time to act as legal observers, counsel for lawsuits against local or state entities, pro-bono representation for anyone arrested or charged in the line of protest or resistance.
- What community partners do you have existing relationships with? Are they engaged in voting/electoral work, or other forms of public organizing and resistance supporting liberation and democracy, that you can amplify?
- What organizations in your area are led by and represent people who are most directly impacted by oppression?
- Who is currently doing non-partisan voter engagement work in your area?
- What is your relationship with other faith communities in your area? Who are your allies, and where might you join forces to pool resources and influence to support urgent needs in the community?
- Do you have a relationship with a state-wide council or association of religious groups?