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General eNewsletter   | June 10, 2020
Welcome to the Diocese of Chicago email newsletter. Please forward this email to your congregation and colleagues and invite them to sign up.
Practice Hope: A Message for Graduates from Bishop Jeff Lee

A message to graduates from Bishop Jeff Lee
A message to graduates from Bishop Jeff Lee

I n a video message to seniors, Bishop Lee acknowledges the loss of the graduation season and celebrations they had planned and encourages them to put their hope in God into practice.  View the video on youtube with Spanish subtitles.
Faith in this Pivotal Moment
A reflection and call to action from Rory Smith

Last week, Bishop Lee asked Rory Smith, of St. Thomas, Chicago, and a member of the Standing Committee and the Antiracism Commission, to reflect on how our faith calls us to lead in this pivotal moment in society:

How does our faith call us to lead in this pivotal moment?

I am a Chicagoan. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago. When we moved into our house I was entering first grade and I made friends with the last white kid in the neighborhood. When his family moved out about a year later, his father closed his realty business and from then on it was an all-black community. Growing up we were told to be afraid of the west side of town. We were taught that there were white and non-white communities that were dangerous for us to enter.

But I became confused when I heard a song by Jim Croce called Bad Bad Leroy Brown. 

The song opens with:
"Well the South side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
You better just beware
Of a man named Leroy Brown"

Later I learned that the west side was afraid of the south side.

I was taught as a child to fear the west side. Apparently, Jim Croce and others told people to fear the south side. Jim Croce did not racialize the song but images come to mind.  To whose benefit is it for south siders and west siders fearing each other and everybody hating Leroy Brown?

As children we are all taught to fear something. You remember being told not touch the fire. All too often we are also taught to be afraid of those who are different than us, we "other" people because of the color of their skin, the way they walk, talk, pray, or think. It could be your age, your shape, sexual orientation or economic status. The list is long and seems to get longer every day.

But today we are called to live into our faith in the midst of crisis. We have been told as God's family to have faith and we'll get through this pandemic by loving each other enough to social distance, wear a mask, stay at home and learn how to be on a Zoom meeting with a suitable background and sound. 

Resources for Responding to Structural Racism
Sanctuary Task Force Offers Webinar on Immigration and DACA
Join Bishop Lee and a coalition of leaders on  Saturday, June 13

On June 13 from 10 am to noon, join Bishop Jeff Lee  and guest speaker Evelyn Venegas Cuzco from the Illinois Coalitions for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) for a webinar addressing the needs of immigrants in the COVID-19 pandemic and how we can prepare for the imminent Supreme Court decision on DACA.

About the Sanctuary Resolution and Task Force
The sanctuary resolution, F182, passed at diocesan convention in 2019, affirms our pledge to resist the the current administration's efforts to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Read resolution F182 on page 12. 

The Sanctuary Task Force includes leaders from the diocese Antiracism Commission, Hispanic Affairs Committee, and Peace and Justice Committee, with the goal to assist congregations, clergy and lay leaders in the work of becoming a sanctuary diocese.

To participate in the webinar, email Judith Tribbett with the subject line "webinar" by June 13 at 6 a.m.
Churchwide Sexual Misconduct Survey
July 1 deadline

In a June 8 letter to Episcopalians, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings invited everyone in the Episcopal Church to participate in an  online survey  about sexual misconduct in the denomination. The survey is designed to assess patterns of church-based harassment and abuse and the effect that it has on victims.  The results of the survey will be presented in a report by the Task Force for Women, Truth, and Reconciliation to the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

Poor People's Campaign Digital Assembly and March on Washington 
June 20 digital social justice gathering 

On June 20, the Poor People's Campaign will hold what it intends to be the largest digital and social media gathering of moral and religious leaders and advocates in U.S. history. The two hour program will be broadcast at 9 am CDT and 5 pm CDT and again on Sunday, June 21 at 5 pm CDT. 

Visit The Episcopal Church's Event Page or the Poor People's Campaign website to register and download flyers in English and Spanish. For more information contact Newland Smith of the diocesan Peace and Justice Committee.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's "The Way of Love" Podcast 
Episode Five with Shane Claiborne

Bishop Michael Curry's podcast,  The Way of Love, is back for a third season. The weekly episode features conversations with Bishop Curry, podcast host Sandy Milien, and other  faith leaders, authors, and thinkers

In Episode five, Bishop Curry talks to Shane Claiborne, founder of the Simple Way and co-founder of Red Letter Christians, about the importance of spending time in the words of Jesus and allowing them to directly inform our thinking and actions. 
The two discuss what it means to pay particular attention to the "red letters" of the Bible - those in which Jesus is directly teaching and guiding us, even now. Learn more.
Returning to Our Churches: A Framework and a Plan
Guidelines for re-opening churches as Illinois enters Phase 3

On May 27, Bishop Jeff Lee shared the Diocese of Chicago's plan for re-opening churches based in large measure on meeting public health criteria spelled out in Restore Illinois, the state's five-phase plan to guide its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The plan emphasizes that re-opening churches at this time is not mandatory and that clergy and lay leaders must work together to determine what is appropriate for their context. Included in the materials is the link to an online verification checklist to be completed and submitted to the bishop's office before re-entering the church building.

View the guidelines for re-entry online in English and Spanish

Resources for Online Worship and Pandemic Response

Visit the diocesan website for a listing of online worship hosted by congregations and links to online materials from across the Episcopal Church. 

Find all COVID-19 news from the Diocese of Chicago   on the website.
Emergency Grants for Congregations Available
Separate funds allocated for relief to parish and mission congregations

Bishop Lee has allocated $100,000 in Bishop's Funds for the purpose of emergency grants to parishes experiencing financial peril due to the pandemic and stay-at-home order. The criteria to apply and the information and documents required are available online.

Requests will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received by a Grant Review Team that includes Marvin Hill of St. Philip's, Palatine; the Rev. Andrea Mysen, director of ministries; the Rev. Courtney Reid, director of operations; and the Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer of St. John's, Chicago. The team will respond to requests within ten days. If you have questions, contact Courtney Reid via email.
Bishop and Trustees Relief for Mission Congregations Continues

At its regularly scheduled meeting on March 17, Bishop and Trustees created a $100,000 pool of emergency funding specifically for mission congregations. Congregations wishing to apply for emergency assistance should contact their Trustee liaison or  email Tom Camell.

Additional Assistance for Congregations

Financial relief is available in several forms from the Church Pension Fund. Learn more on the website.

Please email Courtney Reid  with questions about financial relief for congregations.  
If you have questions about pay and benefits for lay employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, please  email Anna Stefaniak.
Clergy News
Clergy Transition

The Rev. Jaime Briceño has been called as deacon-in-charge at Saint Michael's and All Angels in Berwyn effective July 1. He will become priest-in-charge upon his ordination.
Change to Wellness Benefit for Employees in Medical Trust Plans

Effective May 14, employees enrolled in the Medical Trust medical plans are no longer required to participate in an annual Preventive Care/Screening/Immunization visit or provide  documentation of an annual visit. The Diocese of Chicago does encourage employees and their families to utilize their annual $0 preventive care screening and additional  wellness resources provided by Church Pension Group.
Learning Opportunities
Social Distancing, Not Social Isolation: A Family Systems Perspective
Webinars offered June 11 and June 16

The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center has added two more sessions of  Social Distancing, Not Social Isolation, a 90-minute webinar to help church leaders help those suffering from isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The webinars will be presented via Zoom by the Rev. Richard Blackburn, the center's d irector emeritus.  Learn more and register online .
United Thank Offering Free Summer Webinars

Grant Writing Tips and Tricks on July 21 at 5 pm CDT. Join Heather Melton for a one-hour overview of some best practices when working on a grant application. While these tips definitely apply to the UTO grant writing process, they also can be used when applying for grant funding from other sources. Register in advance for Grant Writing Tips and Tricks.
United Thank Offering 2020 Ingathering
A message of thanks and gratitude from UTO Coordinator Linda Toberman

The United Thank Offering (UTO) extends its appreciation to all churches that have had their spring ingatherings and especially those who notified us of their collection. All additional checks are welcome and can still be sent in. T o those in financial hardship at this time of the pandemic: fill your blue boxes with thoughts of gratitude on paper until they can once again be filled with coins.

Checks may be sent to:
United Thank Offering
DFMS - Protestant Episcopal Church
P.O. Box 958983
St. Louis, MO 63195-8983

Please contact Linda with any questions about the UTO.
Job Openings
Visit the website for a full list of clergy openings  and  lay employee openings
Church News
E piscopal News Service

Episcopal Cafe
Read the latest headlines from the Episcopal Cafe
Event Cancellations and Postponements 

These churchwide, diocesan, and community events have been canceled or postponed. Please contact event organizers regarding cancellations, rescheduling and payments.

June 20: Electing Convention at St. James Cathedral

July 26-August 1: College for Congregational Development Summer Intensive (rescheduled for June 2021)

If you have event cancellations or postponements to share, please email episcopalchicago@gmail.com.
COVID-19 Publication Schedule

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the diocese will publish a general email newsletter each Wednesday. 
Please send news about your congregation's ministry, mission and online events by noon on Tuesday to  Jen Boyle-Tucker .