April 7, 2020
Welcome to Resource Roundup, COVID-19 edition

How are you and your congregation adapting to these unprecedented times of shutdown, sequestration and what Bishop John Harvey Taylor calls #holydistancing? How will your congregation observe Holy Week and Easter? Please email your innovative ideas and your stories of how you are carrying out your ministry to news@ladiocese.org.

More resources
The COVID-19 page on the Diocese of Los Angeles website includes many ideas and resources, as well as links to communications from the bishops' office and past issues of Resource Roundup. Click here.
Pictured after a May 2019 meeting of the Riverside City Council are Tim Alderson, executive director of Seeds of Hope; Mary Crist, priest-in-charge at St. Michael's Ministry Center; and Mayor Rusty Bailey of Riverside. The city council had just given initial approval of St. Michael's proposal to build affordable housing on its property in the city, a decision that was ratified at a virtual meeting on March 31, 2020. Photo: John Taylor
Riverside City Council approves St. Michael’s project to house homeless

Construction slated to begin in September 2020

By Pat McCaughan

[The Episcopal News] The Riverside City Council, at a historic March 31, 2020 virtual meeting, overwhelmingly approved a $17 million project to build 50 housing units for homeless and low-income people at the St. Michael’s Episcopal Ministry Center.

“It is 49 apartments for people who are not housed now and one for a caretaker, who will live on the property and facilitate case management for the residents,” according to the Rev. Canon Mary Crist, priest at St. Michael’s, who was overjoyed at the council’s action.

The meeting was considered historic since it was held online and included drive-through public comment, because of the COVID-19 safety precautions.

Crist said she was grateful for all “the interagency partnerships who made this possible. We will always be committed to the people on the margins.”

Read more here.
Priests, deacons enlisted to pray ‘last rites’ by phone for dying coronavirus patients

[Episcopal News Service] One of an Episcopal priest’s most solemn duties – praying the Ministration at the Time of Death, also known as “last rites” – is particularly difficult to fulfill during the current coronavirus pandemic, because hospitals have tightened access restrictions to prevent further spread of the virus.

“You can’t reach and touch someone’s hand, even through bedsheets, as they’re dying,” the Rev. Alice Downs said, “because they are alone.”

Downs, a former hospice chaplain now living in Maine, is one of 87 Episcopal priests and deacons who have volunteered to minister by phone to people dying of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which has infected more than a million people worldwide. The phone ministry is called “Dial-a-Priest” and was created in a matter of days by the TryTank Experimental Lab, a joint project of Virginia Theological Seminary and General Theological Seminary.

“What we’re doing is a pastoral response to a need, which is that there are people who are dying and we know we have words of comfort,” said the Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija, TryTank’s director. He began working on “Dial-a-Priest” about a week ago as an imperfect solution to an unprecedented challenge posed by the coronavirus.

Read more here.
Clergy: To volunteer for this ministry, click here for information.
Housing needed for detainees: can your congregation help?
An appeal from CLUE (Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice)

Right now immigrants are facing grave danger in detention centers in light of the Coronavirus and while prisons in the US and migrant detention centers in England have been releasing inmates in large numbers, ICE has not changed its policy to respond to coronavirus.

At this very moment there is a strong push to help get released detainees who are vulnerable, those with pre-existing medical conditions or the elderly. Lawyers have recently obtained humanitarian parole for a handful of detainees. Some have returned to their families and others desperately need shelter or transportation to their families in
other states. Others would be able to be released if we had an address to send them to. This crisis highlights a broader, chronic emergency. They could be released with ankle bracelets and monitored if they had an address.

The faith community could be able to provide short and long-term shelter. How can you help? If you have one small room or space in a church building available that we could use for housing one individual. Since most churches are not having current physical gatherings right now, opening up just one space will be ideal to help provide housing for a brother or sister currently detained in those horrible detention centers.

Please let us know if you are interested in exploring the possibility by reaching out to Guillermo Torres at gtorres@cluejustice.org, 323.228.2753

 This project is collaboration of CLUE (Clergy and Laity for Economic Justice), ECAS (the Ecumenical Collaboration for Asylum Seekers, which includes the California Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbytery of the Pacific of the Presbyterian Church USA) and Matthew 25/Mateo 25 (a coalition of immigrant and non-immigrant churches to protect and defend the vulnerable in the name and Spirit of Jesus) are working together to create a movement ecosystem to respond to various aspects of the crisis.
Stories of ministry
How is your congregation, organization or institution carrying out ministry in this time of shutdowns and stay-at-home orders? Send a brief account of your church's work to news@ladiocese.org.
Church garden yields plenty of produce for area needy
St. Alban's Church, Yucaipa, recently harvested more than 100 bags of fresh produce from its garden — including its edible labyrinth — and donated it to the food pantry at the San Bernardino County city's Faith Lutheran Church, according to St. Alban's priest-in-charge the Rev. Cecelia ("CC") Schroeder. The pantry distributes food twice a week to needy families in the community. Pictured above is parishioner John Miller tending the garden. He is the husband of Sharon Miller, who is in charge of the living labyrinth. At left: a refrigerator holds the recent bountiful harvest from the church garden. St. Alban's Church has served its community for more than 50 years.
St. John's, San Bernardino, carries on its food ministry
The Rev. Canon Linda Pederson, vicar and deacon of St. John's Church, San Bernardino, reports that the congregation's 17 food ministry volunteers have been reduced to five during the current shutdown. "Four maintain the food distribution by picking up food on Tuesday, bagging it, except for refrigerated items; then five [volunteers] return on Wednesday morning to add the cold items and pass out the bags with minimal contact," she wrote to The Episcopal News. "Then they dispose of the cardboard mountain. Our only problem is data gathering, which Feeding America requires for foods they sell/supply to us. This requires one person to show recipients how to fill in the form in the tiny spaces allowed! Real signatures are required. We have a call in to the office to ask relief from this requirement for the next few months. We'll see. All workers feel they need to be present to serve the neighbors but have concerns for everyone's health. Recipients are feeling the same way. The main thing we miss from distributions in the past is the coffee social time for all and the community prayer circle we would do with all who cared to join in before the distribution began."
Resources and ideas
ECF webinars available online offer help in time of COVID-19
Episcopal Church Foundation has produced several webinars in its Vital Practices series that offer help for congregations dealing with the COVID-19 shutdown, and has made them available online. Titles include "Self-Care for the Sake of Others (in the Age of COVID-19)"; "Experts Help With Your CARES Act Questions" and 'Effective Vestries in Times of Crisis." Visit the ECF Vital Practices website here for these and other webinars.
Ecumenical coalition offers invitation and resources for Holy Week and Easter during pandemic

[April 7, 2020] Christian Churches Together, Churches Uniting in Christ, and The National Council of Churches have joined together to offer ideas and resources for Christians who are observing Holy Week and Easter in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their suggestions include:
  • Share in a home foot-washing with those with whom you are sheltering in place on Holy Thursday to replicate Jesus asking his disciples to serve each other.
  • Share in prayers at home on Good Friday and blow out a candle to symbolize the crucifixion.
  • Hang white Christmas lights (or other lights, or electric candles) on Holy Saturday and turn them on Easter morning in time for what might have been your Easter Sunrise service.
  • Hang the attached template of a cross and dove (maybe colored by your children) in your front window or on your front door.
  • Write in chalk on your driveway or sidewalk the words, “Christ is risen!”
  • Ring your church bells at noon on Easter Day.
  • Step outside with the persons with whom you are sheltering in place and offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
  • View an additional online service of a church of another racial or ethnic background and offer prayers for that community.

Resources to download:

COVID-19 crisis: Ways to help
One Body & One Spirit Emergency Appeal

By John Harvey Taylor

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. The global health crisis has affected the life of each member of our diocesan family – each of us, and all our neighbors. You are all in my prayers daily as you continue to devote yourself to the work of the gospel. Each day, I know, you are caring for yourselves and those you love, serving your neighbor and those most at risk, and continuing to support your church family by praying, worshiping, reaching out to those who are most isolated, and remembering to send in your generous pledge. Read more here.
Mask-making ministry
The mask-making ministry at St. Stephen's Church, Hollywood, is in full swing to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. To take part in their efforts, click here. An additional resource is JoAnn's Fabrics, which is donating mask-sewing supplies and has also posted a how-to video on YouTube to support efforts all over the country. (Note: Not all hospitals accept homemade masks: for a list of facilities that do, visit the St. Stephen's mask ministry page linked above or contact the Rev. Jaime Edwards-Acton, rector, at hopeinhollywood@gmail.com.
Thank you cards for hospital staff
A request from Michael Bell, director of pastoral ministries at Good Samaritan Hospital
Church colleagues, friends with kids stuck at home, educators with classes online, leaders of other groups: If you're looking for something helpful to do right now that doesn't cost much more than time and some creative love, consider writing/creating thank-you notes, cards, pictures, banners for our hospital staff. E.g., "Thank you, Good Samaritans" - signed by you, children, students, members of your club or community. Mail to: The Rev. Michael S. Bell, Spiritual Care Services, PIH Health Good Samaritan Hospital, 1225 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90017
Episcopal Relief & Development's COVID-19 Response Fund
"Join us in prayer and action. Help us be there in times of uncertainty.
Your gift enables us to prepare for emergencies around the world — including the recent outbreak of the coronavirus. With your help, we can equip our partners on the ground with crucial support to assist local communities and meet the changing needs as this crisis unfolds." Click here to contribute.
From the wider Episcopal Church
Temporary hospital planned for New York’s St. John the Divine
[Episcopal News Service] In the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States, New York City’s hospitals are running out of room for patients, so health officials are turning to alternatives like the USNS Comfort and temporary hospitals in a convention center and Central Park. Plans are now underway to construct another temporary hospital in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, seat of the Diocese of New York and the largest (by some measurements) Anglican cathedral in the world. The details should be finalized in a few days, but the tentative plan is to set up about 400 hospital beds this week in the nave of the cathedral on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Whether they will handle COVID-19 cases or not hasn’t been decided yet, but they should be accepting patients within 10 days, according to Lisa Schubert, the cathedral’s vice president of programming and external relations. Read more here.
Episcopalians now can give online to Good Friday Offering to support Middle East ministries
[Episcopal News Service] Episcopalians in congregations across The Episcopal Church give hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to support ministries in the Middle East through the church’s annual Good Friday Offering. The Episcopal Church has launched an online donation page – the first time such an option will be available to Episcopalians who are inspired to support the important work of Anglican churches in the Middle East. Read more here.
Webinar: Asset-Based Ministry Response to COVID-19
Episcopal Relief & Development joins the Rev. Stacy Stringer and Deacon Elaine Clements on Friday, April 3, 12 p.m. (PDT) to address the ways our individual and collective gifts can meet the needs created by COVID-19. They will cover basic disaster response, how to adapt ministries and pastoral care. Join us and discover how Christ is calling each of us to address human needs. Advance registration is required: click here.
Recording of April 1 webinar on CARES Act is available online
A recording is available of a ZOOM conversation for clergy and lay leaders with Jeff Baker, a vice-chancellor of the Diocese of Los Angeles, concerning the CARES Act recently passed by Congress in reaction to the COVID-19 emergency and how congregations and institutions may apply for assistance. For any who missed the presentation, it may be accessed
here or via the diocesan website (coronavirus resource page). Additional information from Bishop John Harvey Taylor, Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce and Canon to the Ordinary Melissa McCarthy (in Spanish and English) is here. A memo on CARES from Baker is available in English here, and in Spanish here.
Template available for Paycheck Protection Program calculations
Congregations seeking to calculate average monthly payroll for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are requested to the template available here. Questions may be referred to the Rev. Michele Racusin, diocesan CFO, at mracusin@ladiocese.org.
Diocesan website offers resources for congregations

A page on the Diocese of Los Angeles website titled " Responding to COVID-19" lists various resources for congregations and individuals as they cope with church closures and self-isolation. It includes information under the following headings:
  • Resources for Virtual and Remote Worship and Meetings
  • State & County Resources for Addressing Coronavirus Concerns
  • CDC (Center for Disease Control) website links
  • Stewardship
  • Coping with Social Distancing
  • Children and Families
  • Additional health information
  • Recovery resources (12-step programs)
  • Managing work in a time of isolation
  • How to help
The list is updated as information becomes available. Send additional resources for consideration to news@ladiocese.org.
ECW offers grants for medical bills through online application
The Episcopal Church Women (ECW) in the Diocese of Los Angeles offers grants of up to $500 to help cover medical bills and even medical insurance payments to people in need. A form can be filled out online by the applicant's rector or vicar. To apply, click here. Funds are issued to the priest’s discretionary fund and then distributed to the applicant.
Credit Union will provide emergency loans to churches, institutions at reduced rate during COVID-19 crisis

[The Episcopal News - March 18] The Episcopal Community Federal Credit Union has set aside a $500,000 emergency cash fund to assist churches and other institutions of the diocese whose cash flow has been adversely impacted by circumstances caused by the Covid-19 virus pandemic. The program will offer, for a limited time, a 50% reduction to its published rate for church loans. Read more here. (Esta historia aparece en español después del texto en inglés.)
Online giving: Options to explore for use in congregations

Any congregation seeking to add an online giving feature to its website can begin by reviewing and comparing available options such as the following which are among various systems in use around the Diocese of Los Angeles and wider church. The following list is only a sampling and comes with no official endorsement by the diocese. Additions to this list are welcomed and may be forwarded to media@ladiocese.org.

Vanco — Fees are said to be reasonable and an app is available for donors to download. Interfaces with CDM database. Can be viewed in place on website of St. James’, Los Angeles.
Square (Cash App)
Givify - As used by All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Vista, Calif. (Diocese of San Diego)

Featuring Tithe.ly, EasyTithe, Givelify, PayPal, Pushpay.
Deadline extended for nominations to Episcopal Church committees, boards

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs - March 30, 2020] The Episcopal Church Joint Standing Committee on Nominations is accepting applications for nine offices. Application form and links to job descriptions are available on the General Convention website.  The deadline to submit application has been extended to April 30, 2020. Elections will be held at the 80th General Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, scheduled for June 30 – July 9, 2021. For more information, contact the Office of the General Convention at gcoffice@episcopalchurch.org. Read more (in English, Spanish and French) here.
Introduction to Religion and Public Health
A program from the TRAIN Learning Network

Powered by the Public Health Foundation (PHF), the TRAIN Learning Network brings together agencies and organizations in the public health, healthcare, and preparedness sectors to disseminate, track, and share trainings for the health workforce on a centralized training platform. Most of their training programs are open to all, and offered without cost. This curricula is approved by the National Board of Public Health Examiners for Certified Public Health (CPHCE) credit. Read more here.
Is your congregation live-streaming Sunday or weekday services? Let us know!

If your congregation is live-streaming services on Facebook, YouTube or other social media, please send us a note and let us know:
  • Day(s) and time of services;
  • Date if a one-time offering;
  • Type of service (Eucharist, Morning Prayer, Evensong, etc.);
  • URL for anyone wishing to log in:
  • Language(s) in which the service will be held.
  • Information about the celebrant or other participants, or about music or other aspects of worship (optional)
Send listings to news@ladiocese.org. They will be included in a list (also available on the diocese's COVID-19 Resources webpage) for the benefit of all who wish to take part in worship.

In addition, The Episcopal Church has launched a Digital Church Guide. You can upload your service information there (click here). You also can add this information to the Episcopal Asset Map (click here.) More information about both these resources is here.
Clergy: Keep count of online participants in worship

As the wider Episcopal Church determines how to determine Average Sunday Attendance numbers during the COVID-19 crisis, Bishops Taylor and Bruce and Canon McCarthy request that clergy in charge of congregations keep count of how many people are taking part via Facebook, YouTube, Zoom or other forum in worship services offered at your church. The information may be needed for parochial reports. Add the numbers to your red register with the notation LS (live-stream) to capture the history being made at this time. Please refer to the March 19 letter to clergy for more information.
Checks to the diocese

The bank used by the diocese will only accept checks made out to: “The Protestant Episcopal Church” or “Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.” Checks may no longer be made to Treasurer of the Diocese, etc. This is due to the Bank Secrecy Act and accompanying regulations ("Anti-Money Laundering rules").

P.O. Box closed

Please note that the diocesan post office box has been closed and will no longer receive mail. Please use the street address for mail addressed to offices at St. Paul's Commons (formerly The Cathedral Center): 840 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles 90026. Mail addressed to the post office box will be returned to sender.
Resource Roundup is an occasional release for clergy, wardens, church office staff and lay leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Items for inclusion may be forwarded to news@ladiocese.org.