Fellow Clergy,

I'm writing to direct you to two pivotal resources for you and your faith communities during these times.

Many of you know about ECMN’s long standing partnership with LeaderWise , which provides counseling, coaching and leadership development services. Many of you have utilized their services by taking psychological evaluations for the Holy Orders process, and several clergy and faith communities engage with them for coaching, therapy and mediation.
In this time of enormous uncertainty, I commend to you their trained, gifted personnel, who are available to help you navigate this current situation in as healthy a manner as possible. LeaderWise is now able to provide nearly all of their services through secure, online methods.

The Executive Director, Mark Sundby, shared with me,
"As you're aware, our specialty is people in ministry, and our counselors - all licensed mental health providers - understand ministry in a way that others might not. In addition to our psychological training, several of us have served in congregational ministry, and we bring that expertise into our work with seminarians, clergy, and others in ministry. As long as your clergy and seminarians are within Minnesota, we can provide this service.
We’re keenly aware that people in ministry are feeling the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic in a unique way, as their in-person programming has largely ceased, worship is now online or not at all, Lenten and Easter services are up in the air, and parishioners look to clergy for non-anxious leadership. We’d love to serve as a support for them. Please share that LeaderWise counselors are available for them, and we are Blue Cross Blue Shield providers. Or, if they have different coverage, we're credentialed by most other insurance carriers, too."
I encourage you to take advantage of their services. You can reach LeaderWise at: 651-636-5120. Let them know that I referred you to them.

I f you need financial assistance, please let me know. In addition to the possibility of engaging in one-to-one tele-therapy, there are two other ways to connect:

  1. Every Thursday at 12pm Central Time, LeaderWise will host “Joining Together in Resilience: Caring for Others, Caring for Ourselves". It’s a free way to check in with leaders of faith communities across myriad denominations.
  2. If you are interested in joining your fellow ECMN colleagues in a virtual chat facilitated by experts from LeaderWise, let me know and I’ll set something up with them.

Resources from the Church Pension Group
Yesterday, the Church Pension Group (CPG) sent out a very helpful email. You can read the whole email here . Specific highlights are:

  • CPG will waive the obligation that some parishes owe to CPF for clergy pension plan assessments for a period of up to two months. 
  • The Episcopal Church Medical Trust (the Medical Trust) will waive all co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance for its members for healthcare services relating to the evaluation and testing for COVID-19.1 In addition, the Medical Trust will waive all co-pays, deductibles, and in-network coinsurance for its active members for healthcare services relating to the treatment of COVID-19.
  • Church Publishing Incorporated (CPI) is making available, free of charge, these digital publications:
  • The Book of Common Prayer in both English and Spanish 
  • Living Lent, meditations on the hymns of the season, by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton
  • Candle Walk, an illustrated book that prepares toddlers through elementary school children for sleep, by Karin Holsinger Sherman.
  • Free shipping on all book orders from CPI of over $35 until April 15, 2020. Please use code FREESHIP at churchpublishing.org, or call 800-242-1918 to place your order.
  • The most recent issue of The Good Steward includes coronavirus safety tips for religious organizations.

Know that I’m holding each of you in my prayers as we navigate these truly extraordinary times. I am grateful to each of you for being the hands and feet and voice and heart of Jesus.

Brian signature
The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior
IX Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota