How The COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Helps Churches

Last week Congress passed the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)” Act.

The bill was signed into law by President Trump on Friday.

It provides approximately $2 trillion in relief and economic stimulus in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our friends at Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. have analyzed the ways in which the measure helps churches and other non-profits.

They have identified four key areas affecting churches:

  • Direct loans to small businesses, nonprofits, and churches
  • Incentivizing giving to churches and nonprofits
  • Unemployment insurance assistance for those who work for nonprofits
  • Encouraging and aiding churches’ responses to the coronavirus outbreak

They also highlight paid medical and sick leave requirements that may implicate nonprofits and churches.

You can read more about Family Research Council’s findings here.

Small Business Loans

According to Family Research Council, the CARES Act creates federally-guaranteed loans for small businesses and other entities, including nonprofit organizations.

The loans cover eight weeks of necessary expenses.

Tax Incentives and Unemployment Insurance

The bill creates additional tax incentives for charitable giving, which will help churches and nonprofits, and it offers unemployment insurance to employees of nonprofits and charities.

FRC writes that “the CARES Act expands unemployment insurance to help those who are without work because of the coronavirus outbreak. This bill creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Program that will run through the end of the year. The program provides unemployment benefits for those who do not usually qualify, including religious workers, the self-employed, independent contractors, and those with limited work history. It also covers the first week of lost wages in states that do not cover the first week a person is unemployed.”

Additional Grant Money for Charitable Programs

The CARES Act allocates additional funding for Community Service Block grants. These grants are federally funded and awarded through the state government. The money can be used to fight poverty in local communities.

Under the CARES Act, churches and charities may be able to apply for additional government funding to help serve members of their communities.

Learn more at FRC’s website.

Governor Hutchinson Calls for Special Day of Prayer

Yesterday Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a proclamation designating Sunday, March 29, a special day of prayer in Arkansas.

The governor is calling on Arkansans to pray for the state of Arkansas and for the Nation amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The proclamation reads in part,

“As Arkansans, we strengthen our faith through prayer, and today, we come together united as a state seeking God’s reassurance and thanking Him for his guidance . . . In Deuteronomy 31:8, we are reminded of God’s promise, ‘The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged’ . . .”

You can read the entire proclamation here.

Please help spread the word that Sunday, March 29, is a special day of prayer for our state and country.

I hope you and your friends will join with us in praying for our state, our nation, and our leaders.

Updated: COVID-19 Recommendations for Churches

This afternoon Arkansas’ Secretary of Health and Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office issued a new health directive generally prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people.

You can read the directive here.

The directive does not apply to places of worship, like churches.

That means that churches are allowed to meet.

However, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the state strongly encourages churches to limit person-to-person contact at their meetings and help churchgoers practice social distancing of six or more feet.

Our friends at Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. have put together a list of ideas and resources for churches in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family Research Council offers a list of ways that churches can meet and stay connected with each other without taking unwise risks or exposing people to the coronavirus.

Their ideas and resources include ways churches can gather, serve, and stay informed as the outbreak unfolds.

They also offer prayer requests for our nation and legal resources for churches.

You can download Family Research Council’s ideas and resources for churches here.