Dear beloved community,
In the wake of the spread of COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place orders across the country, we know that many members of our church community are facing financial stress right now. The pastoral team wanted to let you know about resources available for you.
You are not in this alone—your church is here with you.
If you are laid off or have reduced hours, please let your pastor know. Since the shelter-in-place order began, the ministers of this church—both pastoral leaders and members—have provided remote assistance with applying for unemployment benefits and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), purchase of groceries, financial assistance through our Benevolence Fund, and guidance around workers’ rights. Through the Benevolence Fund, we can assist with medical bills, partial assistance with rent payments, and food, among other needs.
Through our Benevolence Fund, we can assist with medical bills, rent payments, and food, among other needs. The Benevolence Fund has been made possible by your gifts on Sunday mornings, and in this time of crisis every ministry of the church is working to identify any extra funds that can be redesignated to support these efforts. Together, we are making every effort to take care of our church community in these trying times. In order to receive this support, please speak with a member of the pastoral team.
Please also know:
1) You cannot be evicted from your home, nor can your utilities be turned off during the shelter-in-place order. Your landlord cannot threaten to evict you, and the utility companies have publicly stated that they will not suspend service or charge late fees for unpaid bills. This means that if you cannot pay all your bills, you should prioritize purchasing food and medical supplies over rent and utilities.
2) If you are working and have your hours reduced or are laid off, you should receive documentation from your supervisor to this effect. If you do not, make sure to keep a written record of all communications you have with your supervisor/s. This will serve as legal support for you should there be any confusion in the future, or denial by a supervisor regarding a verbal agreement that was made.
3) If you believe you will be unable to pay your rent, inform your landlord as soon as possible. They should work with you to set up a deferral or payment plan. You will need documentation from your work place (see #2) in order to set this up. Keep a written record of all communications with your landlord.
4) There are multiple sites set up to distribute free meals. If you are unsure where you can go to receive these meals, contact a member of the pastoral team. A list of Chicago Public School meal distribution sites can be found here:
5) There are many other resources available, including funds for undocumented immigrants and refugees. The Chicago Teachers’ Union maintains an extensive list here:
If you become ill, please let your pastor know. The ministers of our church are also sewing masks, delivering food and groceries, and prepared to provide other assistance (like pet care), should you become ill and require these services. And though we cannot make home visits at this time, we want to be able to check in regularly with those who are ill and pray for you by name.
If you are in a position of financial stability and would like to contribute to the Benevolence Fund, your gift would be especially appreciated. You can do so by sending a check to the church with “Benevolence” written on the memo line, or by donating through PayPal and sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating that you would like your donation directed to Benevolence. If you are not able to give at this time—we understand.
Finally, “pray without ceasing.” We invite everyone in the church to join together in prayer at 5:30 pm each Thursday, wherever you are. If you would like to join your fellow church members for communal prayer, Pastor Kathryn will open a virtual prayer space via Zoom at this time, if you would like to pray with your community. Please contact Pastor Kathryn for information about how to access the call.
Beloved, the present time calls upon us to be servants of Christ like never before. As the familiar hymn goes: Sister, let me be your servant. Brother, let me walk with you. Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
The NSBC Pastoral Team