Pastoring during a pandemic can be overwhelming. Here you'll find a number of resources written by members of the PTS community--faculty, program directors, alums, and students. Please use them to calm your heart, lead worship, in personal devotion, or however else they may be useful. We'll update this page as new materials are created. Have a specific topic on your mind and don't see a resource here? Let us know and we'll do our best to point you in the right direction. E-mail info@pts.edu

Assurance of God's Protection

In this video, Jordan Welch (daughter of John '02 and DeNeice '04 Welch) sings Psalm 121 and reminds us of the assurance of God's protection. "I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Watch the video.

Christ, Calling, and Community During a Pandemic

Are we leaning into headlines, anxiety, and fear, or are we leaning into Christ? Charlie Cotherman '12 is leaning into Christ, calling, and community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the blog post.

Eucharistic Feasting: The Lord's Supper in the Time of COVID-19

In this time of social distancing, pastors are looking for ways to connect with church members. Live streaming sermons. Mid-week video messages. What about online communion? Professor Edwin van Driel suggests it may be time for a Eucharistic fasting. Read the blog.

Grief

In the blog post "What are you grieving amid COVID-19?" director of Continuing Education Helen Blier writes about how Mary experienced great loss. It was only when she names her grief that the Risen One reveals himself to her (John 20). What are you grieving? Read the blog.

Holy Week

Alum Joel Peterson ’18 has written a devotional “The Cross and the Coronavirus: A Guide to Holy Week.” We hope it helps lead you through the holiest of days. Access the devotional. 

Jesus in (Not Instead of) the Pandemic

Where is Jesus in the midst of the pandemic? In this Relevant Magazine article “Jesus in (Not Instead of) the Pandemic," master of divinity student Jon Mathieu suggests we must closely examine the relationship between spirituality and suffering—to look at those in pain and respond with compassion—and that is where we will find Jesus. Read the article.

Learning from Mary During a Pandemic

On the day when an angel appeared to Mary, a day Christians observe as the Feast of the Annunciation, the angel announced what God was asking of her. In his Christian Century guest blog post, professor Roger Owens asks “How do we say yes, just as Mary, to the call of this moment?” Read the blog.

Pandemic and the End-times

In this series of blogs, professor Steve Tuell reflects on what the Bible says about the end of the world. This study has been prompted specifically by the concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is a biblical sign of the end times.  So, does the Bible have something to say about our times? Read the blog.

Pastoring 

Pastoring During a Pandemic

During these anxious times, a pastor’s vocation and calling are the same things they always were—but the window through which pastors are able to respond to that calling has narrowed. In her blog post “Pastoring During a Pandemic,” Church Planting Initiative Director Karen Rohrer discusses getting back to the basics and sitting with the Holy Spirit always, but especially during these tough times. Read the blog. 

Pastoring in Unprecedented Times

In this seven-minute video, spiritual director Graham Standish '88 offers pastors and church leaders guidance and nature while pastoring in these unprecedented times. Watch the video.

Patience

James 5 and Patience
"Most people hate to wait anyway, so none of us are prepared for this thing that we're going through," say alum Tom Hall '08, pastor of First PC, Pittsburgh. In this five-minute video, he shares James 5 and reminds us that the Bible addresses again and again the seasons of life. Watch the video. 

Knowing the Times and Seasons—the Paschal Epistle
Professor Edith Humphrey writes, "This year, we know that we must continue in a time of imposed waiting. And this extended waiting has brought discord among us, too: some insist the waiting is necessary, and others doubt it, suggesting that we should adopt another strategy, allowing this virus free reign so that we develop a herd immunity. Others think that we are not expressing faith in this waiting, but simply compliance with a government that does not understand how essential our coming together is." Read her blog post or listen to the podcast

Pittsburgh-Area Resources

Do you, or does someone you care about need help during this crisis? Want up-to-date information on COVID-19 resources, testing, healthcare, along with resources concerning income, food, utilities, neighborhood-specific mutual aid, and more? Here is a list of helpful Pittsburgh-area resources. Review the resources. 

Pondering in the Pandemic

What resources can strengthen and nourish us in the midst of our current situation? What can we ponder in this pandemic? Board member and alum the Rev. Dr. Don McKim '74 offers his advice in this Presbyterian Outlook piece. Read the article.

Prayer

Praying in a Pandemic
Professor Roger Owens wrote a piece titled "Praying in a Pandemic" for Collegeville Institute. We can’t ignore the impulse to pray, and yet the enormity of a global pandemic weighs on us and robs us of words. How can we possibly find words adequate to this situation, words through which we might approach God on our own or lead others in prayer? Read the article.

Prayer in a Time of COVID-19: A Pandemic Book
Prepared by Allison Bauer '05 (pastor, Second Presbyterian Church, Portsmouth, Ohio) with contributions from Lindsay Monihen (member, All Saints’ Episcopal Church) and Rabbi Susan Stone (rabbi, K.K. Beneh Abraham Congregation), "Prayer in a Time of COVID-19: A Pandemic Book" offers written prayers on a variety of topics, including prayers for anyone and everyone, health care workers,  beginning or ending a shift, health care workers’ families, and patients with COVID-19. Read the prayers.

Self-care

In the midst of a crisis, it can be tempting for clergy to forego self-care practices because everything else feels like an emergency. In her blog post, professor Leanna Fuller stresses that right now, self-care for clergy is more important than ever because demands for clergy will continue as this crisis evolves over the next few weeks, and perhaps months. Read the blog.

Service of Light and Breath

In this service of light and breath (adapted from a Longest Night service), alumna Michelle Wahila '05 invites listeners to focus on their breath, while simply making room for grief. "Know that whatever you are feeling is 'ok,' and there is nothing you can feel that will frighten the Spirit," she writes. Access this service.

Social Distancing

How can we honor sacred time apart from our sacred spaces?
As the pandemic keeps us from visiting our sanctuaries, professor Roger Owens considers a notion from Abraham Joshua Heschel: “Sabbaths are our great cathedrals.” Read the article.

Social Distancing Isn't Suffering
“Social distancing isn’t suffering,” says James Ellis ’10 in this Baptist News article. “If the people of God cannot display wisdom, resilience, and calm, then who will? In choosing what is better (Luke 10:38-42), let’s stop being an insecure people committed to activity that is less than healthy, helpful, or holy.“ Read the article.

How a Video Chat App Healed My Ministry (and Me)
In this time of social distancing, it may be more important than ever for pastors to connect with others in ministry. For Ellen Dawson '09 and her Shalom Sisters, all they needed was an app to find support and the shalom of God. Read the blog. 

Cool Things to Do While Social Distancing
As all of us do our part to protect our loved ones, our communities, and our country by practicing social distancing, here are some fun and informative activities to enrich this time of solitude. Download the list.

Wash and Pray

Did you know that saying the Lord' Prayer take exactly as long as the CDC recommends you wash your hands? In this blog post, professor Steve Tuell reminds us to love our neighrbor, love our God, wash and pray. Read the blog.

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