This message is a continuing effort to provide frequent email updates to inform and equip you as best we can to respond to COVID-19 within your congregation and community. View COVID-19 response page
The Center for Disease Control reports as of March 26, 2020, 69,440 total cases in the United States with 994 deaths.
North Dakota has 58 positive cases, 11 hospitalizations, and no deaths. There is documented community spread. Counties with positive cases are Burleigh (Bismarck area) 23 cases, Cass (Fargo area) 8 cases, Dunn (Kildeer area) 1 case, Foster (Carringon area) 1 case, McHenry (Velva area) 1 case, McIntosh (Asley area) 1 case, Morton (Mandan area) 8 cases, Pierce (Rugby area) 2 cases, Ramsey (Devils Lake area) 3 cases, Stark (Dickinson area) 5 cases, Walsh (Graton area) 1 case, Ward (Minot area) 4 cases.
The state of South Dakota has 41 positive cases and one death. Community spread is not documented at this time. Counties with positive cases are Beadle (Huron area) 14 cases, Bon Homme (Tyndall area)1 case, Brown (Aberdeen area) 2 cases, Brookings (Brookings area) 1 case, Charles Mix (Platte, Lake Andes area) 1 case, Davison (Mitchell area) 2 cases, Huges (Pierre area) 1 case, Lincoln (Harrisburg area) 2 cases, McCook (Salem area) 2 cases, Meade (Sturgis area) 1 case, Minnehaha (Sioux Falls area) 16 cases, Pennington, (Rapid City area) 1 case—resulting in death that occurred in Davison County.
Telling the old story, in a new time: Best practices for worshiping online and beyond in a physically distanced world—Join author, creative worship, and guest readiness coach Jason Moore for a 90-minute webinar on April 2, 2020, 6-8 p.m. CDT / 5-7 p.m. MDT, for how to face these unique challenges to worship. Jason will lead your church into a deep dive through the questions and answers that must be asked and addressed as we worship today. Get the details here.
Two family ministry activities ready for you to use:
Palm Sunday: Several churches throughout the local communities are joining together to do a car parade through main street and other streets. Those driving will have a palm that has been sanitized with wipes. Congregations are making palms available by driving by the church a day or two before Palm Sunday and picking up a palm in a box right by the doors—with disinfecting wipes right by the box.
Maundy Thursday service: Rev. Teresa Whetsel, who serves at First UMC in Miller, South Dakota, is inviting families to have a meal together and share in this time of worship. View and download Pastor Teresa’s order of worship and liturgy here.
Good Friday Tenebrae service: There is a team of clergy colleagues that is working on planning and recording a Tenebrae service. You can connect with this group and learn more by joining the Creative COVID Ministry group on the Dakotas Conference Facebook page. To join search for Creative COVID Ministry in the Dakotas in Facebook and request to join the group. We would be happy to have you join.
Join us for the television broadcast of a United Methodist Easter worship. On Sunday, April 12, 2020, at 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. CDT, watch Easter worship from the Dakotas on your television. KELO-TV, reaching audiences in South Dakota, northwest Iowa, southwest Minnesota, and northeast Nebraska will broadcast a service, with Bishop Ough preaching. This service is being planned by Sioux Falls area United Methodist congregations. KFYR-TV, reaching western North Dakota—west of Jamestown, and eastern Montana, will broadcast a service, featuring celebrants and musicians from Bismarck area United Methodist congregations. We will notify you if we add additional broadcasts. Recordings of these broadcasts will be available online after the services.
We encourage each congregation to celebrate Holy Week and Easter. Remember and live out Bishop Ough’s words, “We may not be able to gather in our glorious Easter celebrations in our lily-decorated sanctuaries, but Easter cannot be canceled. The resurrection cannot be stopped or delayed or defeated!” See the video and full message here.
Amid the latest recommendations that have emerged in response to COVID-19, a record number of churches are using live-streaming for online worship. If you have been live-streaming worship services for a while, please continue counting online/live-stream worship attendance the same way you have been. If you are just starting to use live-streaming and are unsure about how to count online worship attendance metrics, here is what we recommend for Facebook and YouTube:
Be sure to wait at least 24 hours after the video is published to count the number of views the video received. Here are instructions for finding viewer counts for Facebook and YouTube.
Have a question for the Dakotas Conference regarding COVID-19 and your congregations and communities? Email Dakotas Conference Communications, and we'll answer to the best of our abilities. Our COVID-19 response page has the latest resources and updates.