Dear Siblings in Christ,
We write to you today with the desire to stay connected in the midst of a changing world. Each day it seems there is more to communicate and communications from the day before are void. We know that you are experiencing the same in your congregations. Today we want you to know that we are with you, you are in our daily prayers, and we are available to you in whatever ways you may need us (see below for our email addresses and phone numbers).
Bishop Bruce has compiled some good information for you to consider regarding resources for liturgy, for financial concerns, and for pastoral connections during a time of isolation. Some of this is brand new and some has been included in other communications but for ease of reference we are including it here as well (see below).
Regarding schedules moving forward, and in light of Bishop Taylor’s letter to the diocese March 17, our annual Chrism Mass and Renewal of Ordination Vows will be canceled as well as Clergy Conference. For Clergy Conference we ask that you please save the dates Monday, May 4 from 4 p.m. to Wednesday, May 6 at 12 p.m. for the possibility of a virtual conference that will include worship, plenary sessions, time with the bishops, and small-group time. We will have more information about that in the coming weeks. For Renewal of Vows, we are likely looking at a postponement until a time we can gather safely. There will be more information about this as well as things become clearer to us.
Finally, we know that every Sunday you are not holding services is a Sunday where you are losing your regular income. Please consider reaching out to your congregations, with the help of your vestry/bishop’s committee, to let people know the impact this has on the life of your community, encourage them to continue giving as they are able, and to thank them for their faithfulness during this time.
If there is anything we can do for you, or if you just need an ear, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You are our dear colleagues, our siblings, our friends and we are with you in these unprecedented times.
With gratitude for your faithful ministry,
The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor
The Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce
The Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy
A prayer for these times:
Holy and gracious God, give us the strength to meet the health crisis looming around us. Enlighten researchers that they may discover the right vaccine against this disease. Guide the doctors, nurses and all medical technicians working with those who are infected to take correct actions for their care. Protect all medical staff and family or friends caring for those who are ill. Bring together the governments and governmental agencies around the world to work together to eradicate this health threat. Hold us all together so that we find creative ways to minister in this uncertain time. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
On our Diocesan
there are resources for you and your congregation, along with links to up-to-date information.
We will be sharing with you "best practices" we are learning from all our siblings as we check-in with them. This may include having you partner with other clergy as we continue to learn as your diocesan leadership what everyone is doing.
Please especially note this
directive from Bishop Taylor
concerning "communion to go." He requests that all clergy discontinue this practice during this time of social distancing.
Have you found websites that are helpful for your membership? Please share them! Especially helpful at this time would be websites to help:
- Members with children who are now at home rather than school
- People pray: links to online prayer services or resources
- Tips to keep healthy and balanced in this time of COVID19 fear
- Our limited-English-speaking brothers and sisters – websites/links in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese would be most helpful
Communications with your congregation:
It is important that all of you stay connected with your membership through phone calls, emails, etc. Phone calls especially.
For larger congregations old fashioned phone trees can be set up.
Being pastorally present to everyone is important right now. That five-minute check-in phone call can make all the difference in the world to members of your congregation.
Many of you have already started live-streaming either Morning Prayer or a modified Eucharist. Reports coming to us suggest that Morning Prayer is an easier, more accessible way to go.
If you are using live-streaming, either through Facebook or Instagram, or are offering a pre-recorded liturgy on Youtube, look at the number of views. Add them to your red register with the notation LS (live-stream) to capture the history we are making at this time.
Remember to give people the opportunity and information to:
- Submit prayer requests to you
- Know where to go locally in terms of food programs
- Support the church financially as they are able.
Information about streaming is
Please let US know how you are doing. We will be checking in with you regularly – and we ask that you don’t hesitate to contact us. Again, check-ins in this time of uncertainty are critical. We are here to support you as you support your people.
All the people who would normally be paid in your congregation will still need to be paid. This will be critically important in the weeks to come. We will be looking at ways to support you in this effort.
Online giving will be a helpful tool during this time. If you don’t already have a mechanism in place for on-line giving, we will be researching and offering you options in future emails to you.
It goes without saying that it is critical that all the bills the church would normally pay continue to be paid -- especially your mission share pledge.
Our Credit Union stands ready to help your congregation. Information can be found
We will be looking at financial resources and opportunities for an in-gathering (not unlike what we did at the time of the fires) for those most in need and will be sending you information in upcoming communications.
is being offered by CEEP on March 20. It is a moderated conversation about money, meaning, and ministry for volunteer stewardship teams, clergy, and lay professional fundraisers in the Episcopal Church focusing on resources, inspiration, and tools congregations will need in the coming weeks of COVID-19. Questions and topics to cover are welcome: Please e-mail them to
by 12 p.m. EDT (9 a.m. PDT) on Friday, March 20. This no-cost resource is a gift to the Church from the CEEP Network and TENS. Registration is required. (Click
to learn more.)
Additional webinar opportunities
March 19 - 20
Episcopal Relief & Development
Webcast: Faith-Based Response to Epidemics
March 20, 12 p.m. PDT (3 p.m. EDT / 2 p.m. CDT / 1 p.m. MDT
Social distancing and quarantine are life-saving measures that reduce the impacts of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, however; they also can be challenging for many people. Join the Rev. Dr. Pamela Cooper-White and Bishop Chilton Knudsen in a conversation around family/partner violence, substance use and mental health as they relate to the current pandemic. Registration is required. Click
Kaleidoscope offers webinar on building community in a time of isolation
The Kaleidoscope Institute invites the diocesan community to join us in a live webinar on Friday, March 20, 1 p.m. PDT to explore ways to form “Gracious Community in a No-Touch World.” The Rev. Canon Eric H. F. Law, Kaleidoscope founder and director, will help participants learn how to deal with fear constructively; find ways to form small-group communities via zoom and other media to foster spiritual and social wellness; Explore creative ways to share resources to meet each other’s physical and economic needs achieving resiliency; and discuss how to create liturgies in this no-touch world. The discussion will not focus only on how to broadcast our church liturgies, Law says. “We will not blame, shame or politicize. We will not be paralyzed by our fear.” Read more
Camp Stevens Community Gathering and Singalong
Thursday, March 19, 7 p.m.
Facebook. Post song requests in the comments, and join the gathering
A list of various pandemic-related resources is on the diocesan website
. This list is being updated as new information becomes available. More information will be included in a special issue of Resource Roundup, to be emailed to clergy and lay members of the diocese on Friday, March 20.