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Coronavirus Response

DEAR FRIENDS,

This page contains all messages around our diocesan response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Please also utilize the links to the below for worship in the midst of self-isolation, ongoing at-home formation, and more.

Blessings to you.

Peace,

The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr.
Bishop Provisional, Eastern Michigan

Resources

 

Messages from the Leadership

From Bishop Hougland

March 31 – Holy Week Resources for Online and At-Home Worship

March 17 – A Pastoral Directive from the Episcopal Bishops in Michigan

March 12 – A Joint Statement from the Episcopal and Lutheran Bishops in Michigan and Additional Words from Bishop Hougland

March 11 – Bishop Hougland Offers Further Recommendations in Response to the Pandemic

February 28 – A Note from the Bishop Concerning the Prevention of Illness

From Diocesan Leaders

April 4 – Voluntary Commitment Reductions up to 25% for April

April 2 – Notice for Finance & Administration – CARES Act, CPG, More

March 25 – Notice for Finance & Administration

From the Presiding Bishop

The Presiding Bishop’s Word to the Church for Holy Week and Easter in support of online worship.

Habits of Grace Weekly Reflection from the Presiding Bishop.

The Presiding Bishop’s Sermon from Sunday, March 15th.

Coronavirus Resource Page from the Episcopal Church.

 

For Worship

Live-streamed Worship on the Diocesan Facebook* Page:

  • Sunday, March 15th at 10:30am – Morning Prayer with the Bishop
  • Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm – Compline with Diocesan Leaders
  • Mondays and Thursdays at 4pm – Litany of Healing with the Virtual Prayer List
  • Holy Week – Click here for the schedule

*You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch the live-streamed videos! Just visit the page at the right time. You will find the video on the timeline.

Spreadsheet of Online Offerings from across Eastern & Western Michigan, including Holy Week offerings.

For Individual Use:

 

For Holy Week

For Planning

Virginia Theological Seminary Webinar Recordings –

Shape of the Triduum Liturgy from the Rev. Dr. Randall Warren (St. Luke’s, Kalamazoo.)

Sample liturgies offered from St. John’s, Grand Haven.

 

For Personal Prayer & Worship

Offerings and schedule for Diocese-wide Worship.

Holy Week at Home from the Diocese of Northern Michigan.

The Good Vigil – at-home resource for families and small groups from Tanna Leclaire (Grace, Lapeer).

 

For Formation

ChurchNext free courses – Prayer and Worship in Our Homes – Learn More

  • Everyday Spiritual Practices with Keith Anderson
  • How to Pray with Christopher Martin
  • Praying with Saints with Scott Gunn and Tim Schenck
  • How to Pray Online with Karekin Yarian
  • Praying the Anglican Rosary with Suzanne Edwards-Acton

Faith@Home – daily formation resources

Illustrated Children’s Ministry – free access to resources through the period of quarantine

Good Book Club: This Forward Movement initiative invites organizations of all kinds to read a particular book of the Bible throughout a liturgical season.

Grow Christians from Forward Movement is a great website to find inspiration for faith at home, including reflections, stories, images, and recipes from a myriad of Episcopalians, celebrating the presence of God throughout the Christian year.

 

This is just a sampling of a huge amount of resources out there in the wider church for ministry throughout quarantine. Join our Youth Ministry Resource Group on Facebook for more specific resources and mutual support.

 

For Communicators

Join our Resource Group on Facebook for ongoing discussions and support.

Weekly Zoom Check-In on Tuesdays at 7pm – Click to Zoom.

Request a Zoom Meeting for your parish or ministry.

Other resources:

 

For Finance & Administration

Online Giving

In this time of physical distance, please be mindful of your ongoing stewardship with your congregation.

To maintain consistent support for the congregation while under quarantine, encourage:

  • Set up process for automatic ACH withdrawals
  • Set up online giving platforms
  • Encourage mailing in donations
The following tools are recommended by our staff, parishes, and by friends in other dioceses. All have varying levels of upfront investment.
If you’re going the route of encouraging folks to mail in their regular contributions, please be mindful of your money counting procedures and make sure we’re keeping everyone safe.
Essential Travel
FOR CHURCH STAFF – CLERGY & LAY

While our buildings are closed, essential staff may need to visit the building for essential business including receiving mail, grounds check, counting, or more.

In case you are stopped by authorities, we recommend providing your essential staff a travel letter to indicate their purpose in going to the church building. This includes your clergy and lay staff in any travel from home to church building.

Click here to access our template.

 

FOR CLERGY

Clergy are recommended to follow physical distancing guidelines as much as is possible and to conduct pastoral care on a virtual basis. In the situation that it is not possible and a visit is necessary, clergy may request a letter from the Bishop indicating their licensure to operate in either diocese. We anticipate this may be helpful especially in a hospital situation. This letter does not replace the letter for travel to your church building.

This letter is not necessary if you already have a Clergy ID card.

Click here to request a letter from the Bishop.

 

Guidelines for Count Procedures during Church Closure and Social Distancing Mandates

During this difficult time of social distancing and church closure, we understand that some business still needs to carry on for the continued function of the church and its finances, but figuring out how to do that can be difficult.  Therefore, if your church plans to continue making deposits while the church is closed, you should continue using the standard count procedure you have in place, with the following modifications:

  • You should continue using two, non-related counters who rotate on a regular schedule.
  • Preferably someone from the church office (not the bookkeeper) will come to the church and open the mail and put all checks (and cash if there is any) together in a safe, or safe place, to be counted by the counters.  If possible, it would be good for this person to stamp, or write, “for deposit only” on each check at this point, as an additional control measure.
  • At a later time, one counter would come into the church and do the initial count, fill out the count sheet, etc. and then leave the deposit, count sheet, etc. in the safe/safe place for the second counter.
  • At another later time (preferably the same day as the first counter, if possible) the second counter would come to the church and double check the count and count sheet information.
  • Each employee and each counter should wash his/her hands before and after opening the mail/performing the count, and if possible, sterilize the work area and instruments used to complete the count, so that it is safe for each person during the process.

It is important to follow all of the normal internal control processes for the safekeeping of both the funds, the church and the staff/counters, with the modification of not having more than one person in the building at a time.

Please contact Sara Philo, Financial Manager, in the Eastern Michigan diocesan office or Tammy Mazure, Finance and Benefits Administrator, in the Western Michigan diocesan office, with any questions regarding these guidelines.

 

Financial Assistance to Congregations

There is some assistance available to congregations from recent governmental action, the Church Pension Group, and the diocese. Click here to read a recent message.

 

Zoom Conversations

We are planning several Zoom conversations for resource sharing and mutual support in various aspects of ministry over the next several weeks. If you have a particular topic of interest, please contact Katie Forsyth, Canon for Evangelism and Networking, at kforsyth@eastmich.org.

The following conversations are currently scheduled:

Parish Communicators Weekly Check-In – Tuesdays at 7pm – Click here to Zoom
All those charged with connecting with the congregation during separation are invited to join our weekly check-in conversations facilitated by Canon Katie Forsyth. We’ll talk tools, methods, and take time for supporting one another in our local mission.Additionally, all communicators are invited to join our local Episcopal Communicators Network Facebook Group for ongoing support throughout the week, this season and beyond.
Virtual Weekly Youth Group – Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30pm – Click here to Zoom
All young people (middle schoolers and high schoolers) and their mentors are invited to gather together each week for checking in, devotionals, games, and Compline.
Virtual Weekly Pub Theology – Thursdays at 7:00pm – Click here to Zoom
All are invited to join facilitator, the Rev. Joel Turmo, and guest theologians from our dioceses and around the country for a weekly virtual pub theology. Join us for learning and conversation, no matter your choice of beverage! We’ll start March 26th.
Youth Workers Weekly Check-In – Fridays at 3:30pm – Click here to Zoom
All staff or volunteer children and youth ministers are invited to join our weekly check-in conversations facilitated by Eastern Michigan’s McKenzie Bade. We’ll talk tools, resources, and take time for supporting one another in our local mission.Additionally, all youth ministers (regardless of diocese) are invited to join our Youth Ministry Network Facebook Group for ongoing support throughout the week, this season and beyond.

Previously

Liturgy Planning During Separation with the Rev. Canon Michael Spencer – March 20th
Preaching for a Livestream with the Rev. Tracie Little – March 25th
Liturgy Planning for Holy Week with the Rev. Canon Michael Spencer – March 31st
Stewardship during Pandemic with the Rev. Alan James – April 1st

 

Connecting with Diocesan Staff

The Diocesan Staff will be working on a remote basis. Please visit the staff page to get in touch.

The following are online opportunities to connect with staff members:

  • The Rev. Mike Spencer, Canon to the Ordinary, will offer office hours on Mondays from 10-12pm. Click here to Zoom. 
  • Katie Forsyth, Canon for Evangelism and Networking, will offer office hours on Fridays from 12-2pm. Click here to Zoom.
  • McKenzie Bade, Facilitator of Youth and Young Adult Networks, will offer the following opportunities: