Announcements
Church Attendance Guidelines After Full Vaccination
Important Update From Bishop Owensby

Dear Friends,

On Monday, March 8, the CDC issued interim guidelines for those who are fully vaccinated. You are fully vaccinated two weeks after you have received your second Pfizer or Moderna shot or the J&J shot. The link to those guidelines can be found by clicking here.

As more is learned about the vaccine’s efficacy and as the conditions on the ground continue to shift, we can expect additional revisions to safety protocols. These new interim guidelines impact church attendance and personal life in different ways. In this email I will specifically outline church attendance guidelines in a moment.

But first, let’s acknowledge a temporary dilemma. The guidelines state that fully vaccinated people may gather without masks. Not everyone will be fully vaccinated. Church services are public events (leave aside that the guidelines tell us to avoid public gatherings).

Anyone may participate in our worship, including those who refuse to be vaccinated and those we have never met before. Accordingly, our Christian openness to all means that we cannot know who is and who is not fully vaccinated in our worship services. Some have suggested that those seeking to attend should be required to present vaccination documents. Such an approach is not consistent with Christ’s open arms to all comers. He welcomes us just as we are. I am grateful that he does this for me.

So, the following brief summary applies the new CDC guidelines based on two basic principles. We must assume a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in our church services. Additionally, it is our Christian duty to protect the vulnerable in attendance. Remember, we wear masks and the like in order to protect our neighbor, especially our neighbor who is at risk of infection.

Church Attendance Guidelines:

1. Church services are public events. So, we will continue to wear masks, observe physical distancing, follow the established sanitation protocols, and practice communion in one kind.

2. Fully vaccinated clergy will no longer be required to quarantine after exposure to the virus unless they experience symptoms.

3. Soloists and ensembles may sing following the open-safely guidelines distributed in the last update. Here is the link for Phase 3 guidelines.

In our personal lives, being fully vaccinated frees us to do many things: gather with others who we know to be fully vaccinated, gather with members of a single household who are not vaccinated, and the like. This is great news and gives us much cause for optimism for a return to our pre-covid church attendance practices. As the metrics and the scientific data allow experts to issue new guidelines I will adjust ours accordingly.
Please get the vaccine as soon as possible and encourage friends and family to do the same. In the meantime, stay safe and be well.

In Christ,

+Jake

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD
IV Bishop of Western Louisiana
Stay in the know of the latest updates to diocesan and state guidelines by visiting the COVID-19 resource page on the diocesan website. Check back frequently as we will be updating this page as new developments occur.
Diocesan Staff Continue to Work from Home
Due to the continued rise in COVID-19 infection rates, the diocesan team will work from home. This is a small, but big change in keeping staff members safe and doing our part to slow the spread of the virus.

Diocesan Staff are remotely checking office voicemails twice a day during regular business hours. They also remain accessible via email and online meeting platforms.
Diocesan Events
Diaconate Ordination

God willing, The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby will ordain Rita Jefferson to the Sacred Order of Deacons on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. The service will take place at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Monroe; space is limited.
Around the Diocese
2021 Summer Camp Schedule Now Available!
Click here for more information on the different sessions and learn what camp will look like this summer.
Online Giving
For Congregations, Diocesan Ministries and Hurricane Relief
Online giving remains available! The diocese is providing this service during the COVID-19 pandemic to help you stay connected to your congregation by providing financial support directly to it. When you give through this site, we will send your gift to the church that you designate. You can also give a gift to the Diocese so that the Bishop can respond to critical needs in Louisiana and beyond from his ministry fund. Know that we love you and that you remain in our prayers. Stay well. And thank you for your generosity!
Outside the Diocese
Episcopalians will commemorate Bishop Barbara Harris virtually one year after her death


One year after the death of the Anglican Communion's first female bishop, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prevent the kind of in-person memorial service befitting her stature in The Episcopal Church, but celebrations of ...

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www.episcopalnewsservice.org
Resources
Traveling the Way of the Cross
The devotion known as the Way of the Cross is an adaptation of a custom widely observed by pilgrims to Jerusalem: the offering of prayer at a series of places in that city traditionally associated with our Lord’s passion and death. This practice is also known as Stations of the Cross. Here are two different ways you can experience this devotion as part of your Lenten practices.
The Department of Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary is pleased to offer a video version of The Way of the Cross and a reflection guide in both English and Spanish. Through scripture, art, and music, the video invites us to walk with Christians of every generation on a virtual pilgrimage, meditating on our Lord’s passion and death. Permission is granted for unlimited use of this video. Learn more here
The Way of Asylum as a community experience of compassion and empathy was inspired by the art of Michelina Nicotera-Taxiera, who created a moving interpretation of Stations of the Cross, In her version, Michelina's art connects the suffering of asylum seekers with Jesus’ suffering and confronts us with the truly horrific journey that many who seek asylum endure on their journey to seek safety and refuge. Click here to experience the Way of Asylum.
DID YOU KNOW that only Texas exceeds Louisiana in the number of asylum seekers and other migrants being detained by the U.S. government? Men and women from far-away places like Cameroon, Cuba, Eritrea, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia languish in privately owned and operated detention centers in places like Jena, Winnfield, Pine Prairie, and Monroe. These people left their homes to escape life-threatening circumstances. They seek safety and an opportunity to thrive as human beings. Instead, they sit in prisons isolated from family, friends, and the simple comforts of a decent life. Months or even years pass as they wait for the Immigration Court to decide their case. If you would like to learn more and find out how you can join others in our diocese in ministering to immigrants in detention, please click here.
Bishop Owensby's Latest Blog Post
How We Do What We Do

Here's the thing about life. We just get one of them. No one that I know wants to look back on their life and say, "I was just going through the motions. I wasted my life." On the contrary, people want to lead a life that's worth living.

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jakeowensby.com