March 31, 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.
From the bishop
One Body & One Spirit Emergency Appeal

For in the one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body. — 1 Cor. 12:13a

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.

Some among us are affected more severely than others. In the body of Christ, when one suffers, we all do. In the family of God as in all our families, when one family member is struggling, everyone pitches in to help.

That’s what it really means when we say, as we often do these days, “We’re all in this together.”

All gifts to the One Body & One Spirit Emergency Appeal will be used to assist congregations, schools, affiliated institutions, and their employees most deeply affected by the pandemic and related economic crisis. Details are below about making gifts on-line and by mail. You will receive an acknowledgement by email or U.S. Mail containing information about tax deductibility.

As funds accumulate, we will begin accepting applications from clergy in charge of congregations, heads of school, and directors of diocesan social service institutions on behalf of their respective organizations and staff colleagues. Look back here soon for more information about the application process.

Bishop Bruce, Canon McCarthy, and I are each making $1000 gifts.

Please join us. We are all branches of the same vine. We are one in the Spirit and in the body of Christ. We are all in this together, in the shadow of crisis while always moving toward the unquenchable light, glorifying God and caring for God’s people each day.

Yours in Christ’s love,

The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor
Bishop of Los Angeles
Bishops' letter to clergy, lay leaders offers help understanding CARES Act
Bishop John Harvey Taylor, Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce and Canon to the Ordinary Melissa McCarthy sent a message March 31 to clergy and lay leaders informing them of how the "CARES" COVID-19 relief act recently passed by the U.S. Congress may help congregations, schools and institutions of the diocese get through the challenging times ahead. In "Faith In Crisis: Meeting Our Financial Challenge Together," the triad wrote, "The world, our communities, and our Church are facing an unprecedented, global crisis. The public health crisis has created an economic crisis, and we are all acutely aware of our financial vulnerabilities and responsibilities. We are also all deeply committed to caring for our clergy, lay ministers, administrators, staff, and other employees who work with faith and diligence for the church and our neighbors. This letter addresses some immediate needs and resources available to stabilize our finances, weather the storm, and protect our employees." The letter links to a memo from Vice Chancellor Jeff Baker that outlines some of the resources offered by the new act of Congress. Taylor, Bruce and McCarthy invited clergy and lay leaders to an April 2 Zoom meeting with Baker at which these resources will be discussed more fully. The letter is here in English and Spanish.
News
Liturgical commission issues letter of directions, advice and resources for worship
The new Bishop's Liturgical commission in the Diocese of Los Angeles has issued a letter including resources for congregations to use in worship, especially for Holy Week and Easter, in this time of quarantine and social distancing. The letter includes a directive from Bishop John Harvey Taylor that all such services "must solely occur in livestream and virtual forms." The commission, headed by the Rev. Michelle Baker-Wright, chair, and the Rev. Canon Susan Russell, staff liaison, lists a number of other requirements, suggestions and resources for use by congregations and families. Read more here.
Church in the age of COVID-19: Learning to Zoom

by Pat McCaughan

Throughout the Diocese of Los Angeles, church worship services and activities have moved online in efforts to stay connected, as new coronavirus cases have continued to spike. As the lockdown continues indefinitely, many congregations are offering morning and evening prayer services via Facebook Live, Zoom or Go 2 Meeting and other social media platforms. Church vestries and bishop’s committees also use them to continue to conduct business, while book groups, bible studies and prayer ministries are also connecting in similar ways. Read more here.
IRIS continues ministry to refugees, immigrants and asylum-seekers during shutdown

By Meghan Taylor

Despite the current challenges our country is facing surrounding COVID-19, Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service (IRIS) remains dedicated to providing services to refugees, immigrants, and asylees. Since the middle of March, our staff has practiced social distancing measures by assisting clients remotely via telephone and video. While our office is closed to the public until further notice, we will continue offering legal and resettlement services to those in our network. Since the placement of refugees has been postponed until the end of April, our attention will be directed towards clients currently present in this country. We are also closely working with the Ecumenical Collaboration of Asylum Seekers (ECAS) to secure the health and safety of vulnerable detainees by ensuring their release from Adelanto, a privately operated immigration detention center in San Bernardino County.

Clients are welcome to schedule appointments for regular services by calling or e-mailing our office. Staff can also be contacted during normal business hours by their distinct e-mails and extensions. We encourage our clients to connect with tech-savvy family members to access telecommunication services such as Zoom. Anyone needing to apply for citizenship, DACA renewals, green cards or other assistance must call our office at 323.667.0489 to register for services. We will be serving clients online until further notice.

In order to care for our neighbors effectively, IRIS encourages everyone to take safety and wellness recommendations seriously. Please continue to practice social distancing by maintaining good hygiene and limiting outside exposure as much as possible. Let’s also continue to pray for everyone’s safety, especially essential workers in hospitals and stores. IRIS sends its love, positivity, and warmth to everyone. We will come out of this stronger than ever before.

Meghan Taylor is executive director of IRIS (Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service), a ministry of the Diocese of Los Angeles.
Resources and ideas
Why Giving to Your Church Right Now Might Be More Important than Ever

By Erik Cooper

[Stone Table] Keep giving to your local church. Perhaps I’m the right one to say this as I have no direct personal upside from the conversation. What I do have is a deep belief in God’s Word, a love for the mission of God in the world, and a network of dear friends leading this charge in countries across the globe and in local congregations right here in my own community. While I don’t draw a paycheck from a church, I love the local Church and believe it is God’s plan to embody and proclaim His Kingdom to the world. We can debate its many forms and expressions, whether its a building, an organization, or just the people, but there’s one thing I don’t think should be debatable for Christians today: when we honor the Church we’re honoring God. Read more here.
The Electronic Campfire: New Storytelling from Scripture
Five Old Testament stories from the Easter Vigil are retold with "wit and wonder" by the Rev. Jim Friedrich (writer/director) and Angela Lloyd. The Creation, Flood, the Red Sea, the Binding of Isaac, and The Valley of Dry Bones offer fresh perspectives on the Bible and its meanings. Friedrich (pictured) is a priest of the Diocese of Los Angeles, now resident in Bainbridge Island, Washington. View video here (YouTube)
How to prevent ‘Zoombombing’ from disrupting virtual services
By Aysha Khan
[Episcopal News Service/Religion News Service] The mass transition of houses of worship to Zoom and other online video conferencing platforms has meant that religious services are more accessible than ever before. Unfortunately for digital congregants, that means they are also more accessible to online trolls who have plenty of free time to disrupt their services with obscene or hateful interruptions. Read more here.
Social distancing may have helped California slow the virus and avoid New York’s fate
[Los Angeles Times - March 31] For California and Washington, the coronavirus triggers came early. They pushed the two Western states to social distancing measures earlier than the rest of the country. ... [E]xperts are looking to California and Washington for signs that social distancing is making a difference. Read more here.
Things to Consider When Holding a Funeral Over Zoom

By Miriam Elizabeth Bledsoe and James Said

Death is a reality in this life. The church and the pastoral office of the Burial Rite have long provided a familiar and comforting container for those in grief to share their sorrow with God and one another, and to mark the life of a loved one. By the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer, “The service should be held at a time when the congregation has opportunity to be present” (p. 490). However, these are not normal times, and we may be months out from a time when the congregation can gather in person. Here, we offer some thoughts about how we prayed the burial office over Zoom. These suggestions are not binding in any way and priests, pastors and families will need to make decisions based on their own context and a family’s needs. Read more here.
Clergy laugh off bloopers as the coronavirus forces churches online
[Religion News Service] — The Rev. Megan Castellan has been livestreaming morning prayer from home every day through the coronavirus pandemic for her parishioners at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ithaca, New York. But Thursday’s prayer (March 26) was an “epic disaster,” Castellan told her followers on Twitter. Castellan briefly considered recording the video over again, she told Religion News Service, but then she realized that as lives have been upended by the pandemic, maybe somebody else needed to hear that everything was awful this morning and that everything that could go wrong, did. Read more here. Photo: The Rev. Adam Sexton, of St. Andrew's Orthodox Church in Ashland, Virginia, posted stills of his livestreamed sermon when filters affected his message.
COVID-19 crisis: Ways to help
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. The more the better. Imagine how you'd feel - how your spirit would be nourished - if you saw hundreds or thousands of thank notes greeting you as you face another challenging day at the hospital during this crisis. Package them up and mail them to my attention (see below). I'll get them posted around the hospital to help boost the spirits of our staff who are and will be working round the clock throughout this COVID-19 pandemic for the well being of our neighbors here in downtown Los Angeles. Blessing to all for safety and wellness at this time. Thanks to all who act on this invitation.

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
Presiding Bishop Curry issues 'Word to the Church: On Our Theology of Worship'
"We find ourselves in the strange position of fasting from physical gathering for worship of almighty God, not out of sloth or disobedience, but in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, for whom the primacy of love for God and neighbor is the way of life," Presiding Bishop Michael Curry writes in a letter to the Episcopal Church on March 31. Curry notes that he has issued a theological reflection -- included in the letter -- about how the Anglican way of worship gives guidance to the church in the time of COVID-19. The reflection, which was written with the aid of a group of theologians and scholars, "is not in any sense a set of guidelines, directives, or mandates," Curry writes. The reflection is offered here in both English and Spanish.
The Phases of Disaster: Reflections from President Jennings

By Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies

During the last twenty years, I have served as a critical incident stress debriefer for emergency service workers and clergy in disaster zones, and I have seen firsthand how those experiences change physical, social, emotional and spiritual landscapes dramatically. I am not an expert in disaster response and recovery, but I have studied the dynamics inherent in disaster situations and served with first responders, mental health professionals, social scientists, and people who have lived through disasters. Read more here.
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 the following bodies:

   Member, Court of Review
   Member, Disciplinary Board for Bishops
   Member, Executive Council
   Member, General Board of Examining Chaplains
   Member, Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of a Presiding Bishop
   Trustee, Church Pension Fund
   Trustee, General Theological Seminary
   Secretary, House of Deputies
   Treasurer of General Convention

Application form and links to job descriptions are available on the General Convention website.  Applications can be submitted electronically, and for the first time, nominees are able to apply for multiple positions on the same application. 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.
REMINDERS
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.
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.
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.
Links
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.