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Coronavirus Response


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.


The Standing Committees of Eastern & Western Michigan




From the Bishop and Standing Committees

May 19- Phase 2 Plan for Re-Entry

March 8 – Modifications to Phase 1.5

January 22 – Ash Wednesday, Phase 1.5 Reminders

November 16 – Moving Back to Phase 1.5, Updates to the Phase Plan

November 6 – Reminder about the Risk Map Tool, Phase II

September 28 – Executive Order Lifted, Recommendation Lifted October 9

September 22 – Reminders about Phase II, Requirements and Recommendations 

July 31 – Capacity Recommendation in Light of Governor’s Executive Order 

July 23 – Update to Directives: Pre-Schools and Outside Groups

June 19 – Progressing to Phase II, Updates to the Phase Plan

May 1 – An Updated Pastoral Directive from the Episcopal Bishops in Michigan

April 29 – An Invitation to Join the Good News Gardens Network

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

June 24 – Meeting for Senior Wardens, Clergy around Phase II Re-Entry

April 29 – Senior Wardens Zoom Meetings

April 27 – Finance and Admin: Zoom Meeting, PPP Updates

April 21 – Finance and Admin: CPG Resource

April 10 – Temporary Assistance for Online Parish Giving

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 on the theology of Love.

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:

  • Fridays at 8pm – Compline with Diocesan Leaders
  • Thursdays at Noon – Litany of Healing with the Virtual Prayer List

*You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch the live-streamed videos. Just click the link at the scheduled time.

Spreadsheet of Online Offerings from across Eastern & Western Michigan.


For Individual Use:


Plan for Re-Entry for Great Lakes Episcopalians

The “Plan for Re-Entry for Great Lakes Episcopalians” articulates three phases for re-entry into our new normal. Effective March 22, 2021, we are in Phase 2. When we are shift into a new Phase, we hope communicate the progress date at least ten days ahead of the change.

Click here to access the plan document.


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.

Request a Zoom Meeting for your parish or ministry.

Katie Forsyth, Canon for Evangelism and Networking, offers office hours on Fridays from 12-2pm. Click here to Zoom.


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.
Temporary Online Giving Assistance
To empower stewardship during this hiatus from in-person gathering, the diocese has launched a digital giving platform to facilitate online pledges and donations for congregations without this capacity. Any transaction fees not covered by the giver will be covered by the diocese. Click here to read more.
Gifts to Eastern Michigan parishes can be made using this link. Please share with your congregation via your own communications channels:
Essential Travel

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.



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

The following conversations are currently scheduled —

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. Email McKenzie Knill with any questions,


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
Weekly Pub Theology with the Rev. Joel Turmo
Weekly Parish Communicators’ Check-Ins with Canon Katie Forsyth
Youth Workers’ Check-Ins with McKenzie Knill (on hiatus)


For Annual Meetings

Guidance for Online Annual Meetings
This document from Chancellor Fleener and Canon Forsyth outlines tips and recommendations as planning is underway for annual meetings in an online format.


Other Resources

AA Meetings – Online or by Phone

State of Michigan Coronavirus Volunteer Registry

Free masks for churches, while supplies last