COVID-19 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.

PLAN FOR RE-ENTRY FOR GREAT LAKES EPISCOPALIANS

The “Plan for Re-Entry for Great Lakes Episcopalians” is a directive from the Ecclesiastical Authorities across the state of Michigan and articulates three phases for re-entry and according to precautions.

Currently, we are in Phase 3: Deeper Participation and will remain in Phase 3 until further notice, pending further recommendations from public health experts and the State. 

FROM THE BISHOP AND STANDING COMMITTEES

2022
Sept 1 – Modification to Phase 3 to allow for Vaccine Requirements
August 6 – August Check-in
June 11 – Notice of Phase 3
May 19 – Modification to Phase 2
May 14 – May Check-in
March 15 – Notice of Phase 2
March 8 – Modification to Phase 1.5
February 19 – February Check-in
January 22 – Ash Wednesday, Phase 1.5 Reminders
2021
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.

RESOURCES FOR INDIVIDUALS & CONGREGATIONS

Diocesan Zoom 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, mknill@eastmich.org.

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.

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: givingtools.com/give/1281/2196

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.

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.

Contact Person

Katie Forsyth
Canon for Evangelism & Networking
kforsyth@eastmich.org