Dear Friends in Christ,

On Wednesday evening, Governor Walz stated that he will allow the current Stay at Home order to expire on May 18th. He is now calling Minnesotans to ‘Stay Safe.' You can find his statement here , and you can find a summary here .

ECMN Now Enters Phase 1.5
We are writing today to share an initial plan for how we will move forward together. You can find a link to the plan below. With the lifting of the stay at home order, we now move into Phase 1.5 of our 4-stage plan. For our faith communities, this means:

  • Groups of 10 or fewer individuals may return to faith community buildings to film or live-stream services, as long as appropriate physical distancing is maintained.
  • Weddings and funerals that cannot be postponed may take place, as long as they are gatherings of 10 people or less and follow the physical distancing and the wearing of masks.
  • Those who are sick, those who have underlying health conditions, and those who are over the age of 65 should not re-gather in any form or fashion during this phase.
  • During Phase 1.5 the Office of the Bishop and Missioners will still remain closed, and 1101 W Broadway will still not host events or gatherings of any size. We are advising that Church offices, during this phase, do the same.
  • All other groups and gatherings continue to be suspended until further notice.

This is a time when following the Way of Love means proceeding slowly and with the greatest caution possible. Along with the governor, we encourage the people of ECMN to stay home as much as possible, and to closely follow guidelines around hygiene and physical distancing whenever you do have to leave home. Those at greatest risk—meaning anyone with underlying health conditions and anyone over 65—are strongly urged to continue sheltering at home. 

It is very likely that we will remain in this phase for quite some time. While this season comes with great difficulty, it also comes with great opportunity to consider what the Holy Spirit is teaching us about how we sustain a life of common prayer, how we care for one another, and how we bear witness to the gospel in the world. We hope that our weekly webinars, along with occasional reflections from the bishop, will help us discern the way forward together. 

For the whole community of God's children, we ask that you continue to operate with caution and compassion in the weeks and months to come. We encourage you also to be gentle with yourself, and with the people around you. What is being is asked of all of us is hard, and this is a long journey. We take heart knowing we walk this road together, and in this season of Easter, that we are always held by a God whose loving embrace cannot be broken by the powers of darkness and death that so often surround us. Let us not forget that in good times and bad times, in joy and in sorrow, in life and in death, we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Phases of Re-Gathering

Plan for Phases of Re-Gathering in ECMN
Guidelines and Planning Resource Document
ECMN has developed a resource for faith communities as they create plans for how to re-gather in the coming weeks and months. This document should be considered a living document. Expect that this document will be updated and re-released as new knowledge and resources become available.

What you can expect right now from this document are specific guidelines that faith communities must follow, plus questions, planning documents, and resources to help faith communities as they imagine what their life together will look like as we enter phases 2, 3, and 4.

Please let us know if there are further resources you need as you plan. We will do our best to continue to add to this document as time goes on. Email Rachel Babbitt, your Missioner for Community Engagement, at .
Leading Beyond the Blizzard

Leading Beyond the Blizzard
Tuesdays at 2pm
For the last several weeks, Bishop Prior and Bishop-elect Loya have led a weekly 2pm gathering on Tuesdays for faith communities to provide information about our current situation and to unpack recommendations and best practices for faith communities.

Starting next Tuesday, we’re going to be spending some time sharing with each other. We’re past the initial shock of the blizzard, and we’re now all learning to lead in the context of an extended absence from each other and our church communities. We’re leading beyond the blizzard.

In these new gatherings, there will be time at the beginning to hear about updates and recommendations based on our current situation, but after that, we’ll spend time engaged in formation on a specific topic, and then break off into small groups for discussion, sharing, unpacking, idea-generating, and connecting with others across the state who are learning to lead through the long winter.

If you have already registered for previous Tuesday gatherings, you will need to register for this gathering. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Bishop Brian N. Prior
Bishop-elect Craig Loya