March 27, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I write to offer some financial relief to churches that find themselves especially vulnerable during the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic. This virus has caused frustration and anxiety in all of us and especially those who are the most vulnerable among us. 

I am deeply grateful for the continuing ministry that all of you are offering to those who are hungry and scared. Our Lord said, “Do not be afraid” and we are all being tested.

In consultation with the Trustees, we are providing an opportunity for congregations to apply for financial relief related to this crisis. Please note that the diocesan priorities for funding are for payroll, utilities, and property insurance payments. We cannot guarantee that all requests will be fully funded, but we will do our best. Each applicant will be contacted to discuss the relief he or she is requesting. The application for all financial aid will be available on our website early next week at

I am also directing Diocesan Council to allow a grace period for congregations, if necessary, to defer their monthly mission share contributions for up to six months. Those congregations that can continue to pay their mission share are encouraged to do so to lessen the impact on diocesan program expenses. I can assure you that the diocesan staff is carefully reviewing all expenses to curtail unnecessary costs. Questions about your mission share payment may be directed to the Rev. David Getreu at

The Trustees are also making available non-interest bearing loans from the William Cooper Procter Fund for those who cannot meet their immediate financial needs.

In an effort to provide temporary relief to parishes whose ability to function is severely impaired, the Church Pension Fund has also committed to waive the obligation parishes owe to CPG for clergy pension plan assessments for a period of up to two months.

To qualify, I, as Bishop, must certify 1) that the senior most government official in his or her nation, state, or region has declared a major disaster (such as a state of emergency). This has already happened in Ohio; 2) that as a direct result of the disaster, the ability of each parish in question to function has been severely impaired, and; 3) that there are inadequate resources (including endowments) within the affected congregation, or the diocese, to pay assessments and continue to function.

Finally, I have requested that an emergency fund be established, to which individual contributions will be matched by the William Cooper Procter Fund. This fund will be administered by Episcopal Church Ministries (ECM) to assist those congregations in continuing their outreach ministries during this crisis.  Please use the application form posted on the diocese website to apply for all of the above-named assistance.

I hope that we will all remember that our theology is one of abundance and not scarcity. This is a unique opportunity to reach out to each other in this common time of need, both spiritually and financially.

Please know that I am here to serve you and am continually praying for you.

Do not hesitate to contact me or Canon John Johanssen or Carine de Lange of my executive staff with your suggestions and requests.