Dear Friends in Christ,

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty...
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
Ps 91:1, 5 & 6

The Psalms echo the concerns of our hearts so evocatively. The 91st Psalm has been of comfort and strength to us for thousands of years. It is very apt for those of us praying and serving through the issues with the coronavirus.

We do dwell under the shadow of God’s protective wings and these words put all of our worries into perspective. As we move through these weeks of prudent care perhaps this psalm will be our prayer; repeated after we listen to the news and if we awake in the middle of the night. 

Because of the strength we receive from God, we can encourage others who may be fearful. Along with this we need practical steps in response to the virus.

Last week, we posted out some initial measures to follow as we gather in church communities, as well as at home. We practice these measures not only for our own individual health, but also to protect those who are most vulnerable to infection of any kind: those with existing health issues, the elderly, and those who for whatever reason are susceptible to respiratory viruses like this.

This week, we are expanding our message to include some readiness for ourselves at home, as well as for our church leaders: clergy, administrators, and lay leaders. Some of this will feel unnecessary, and in fact may well be premature for your context. It may be that your area will not suffer a severe outbreak of the virus and I hope that these preventative measures will not be needed. 

In Christ,
Preventative measures for home and church
Be ready at home:

If you or a loved one gets sick and is asked to self-quarantine, here are some things you might want to have on hand as an extra supply:

  • Paper and cleaning products for your household.

  • Canned goods and other non-perishable food items so you don’t have to go to the grocery store if you’re feeling bad. Make sure to include some treats: chocolate, coffee, tea, other comfort food items. 

  • Medicine – order an extra month’s supply of essential meds so that you don’t have to wait in line at a pharmacy, or if supply lines are disrupted.

  • Extra medicines and supplies for respiratory illness.


Plan for possible school closings: 

  • Coordinate with other families for care

  • Have supplies on hand for continued learning and activity 

Be ready at church:

  • Follow the current guidelines for the prudent care of your people. In addition to the instructions to avoid intinction, those who are concerned should just receive communion in one kind: the blessed bread. After receiving the bread, simply cross your arms and acknowledge the chalice. Read more...

  • Make sure telephone lists are up to date; especially noting those in any health frailty.

  • Practice your parish phone tree, and make sure that you have designated leaders assigned to check in by phone with your members.

  • We will not cancel worship. We worship God regularly, including Sunday worship, and we expect our clergy to lead Sunday worship and proclaim the Gospel. There are many parishioners who have already chosen to stay home for personal health reasons. We need to plan for this and make alternate virtual worship available as the need arises. 

  • Be ready to support prayer at home so those who need to refrain from crowds will be connected:
  • With a guide for simple morning prayer and daily home worship.
  • Providing worship online through another church’s link.
  • Streaming your own worship, so home-bound members can participate.
  • Worship resources:
  • The Mission of St. Clare provides Morning and Evening Prayer online.
  • Here is a link to their mobile apps for iPhone or iPad and Android
  • Streaming Resources:
  • Facebook Live
  • FaceTime
  • Our communications office stands ready to help. Please email us at communications@norcalepiscopal.org with your questions.

  • We are working with our deans and other church leaders to support one another in alternate worship possibilities and will share resources here in the coming days.

  • At this time, we do not anticipate that you would need to close your church building and cancel events. We encourage you to make gatherings and meetings available virtually, but that at minimum the clergy, wardens, and key lay leaders will keep our doors open and provide safe gathering spaces for those who choose to come to us. We will discuss church closures on a case by case basis in the unlikely event of a major quarantine.
Assist us mercifully, O Lord, 
in these our supplications and prayers, 
and dispose the way of thy servants towards the
attainment of everlasting salvation; that, 
among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, 
they may ever be defended by thy gracious and ready help; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
BCP 832 #60