May 5, 2020
From the bishop
Health and Strength In Community VII

By John Harvey Taylor

Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, ”I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:5-6

Just think of what we have accomplished in the weeks since March 17, when I suspended in-person worship in the Diocese of Los Angeles. We have discovered the capacity to worship on-line, and not just on Sundays. The Book of Common Prayer, embodying the rich Anglican tradition of non-eucharistic worship, has again become our daily companion. Long, nuanced phone conversations have replaced quick coffee hour chats. The diocese and many of our churches have continued and even expanded our food service ministries. Though none can know what the future holds, thousands are offering unstinting financial support to our churches and the diocese.

You have been magnificent. Yet while our shared spirit of Resurrection hope has enabled us to rise to the challenge, it hasn’t been easy for anyone.

Read more here. Este mensaje aparece en español después del texto en inglés. / This message appears in Spanish after the English text.
News
IRIS — scrappy, surviving, supporting refugees and immigrants amid COVID-19

By Pat McCaughan

[The Episcopal News - May 5, 2020] For the scrappy Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant finding creative ways to aid society’s most vulnerable in the most challenging of circumstances.

For example, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order has meant, for IRIS, virtual instead of in-person assistance with naturalization and green card applications — and even Zoom home visits.

“We want to make sure clients have what they need. That they look healthy, feel healthy. It means being able to see their faces and to make sure they have the food they need,” Executive Director Meghan Taylor (pictured) told The Episcopal News recently.

In spite of coronavirus shutdowns, IRIS, the refugee resettlement ministry of the Diocese of Los Angeles, “is still open and we have been adjusting to remote work,” Taylor said.

“We are doing a big push for those with DACA to renew their applications now, because we are expecting the Supreme Court to come out with a decision any day,” she said. “There is a potential they will be unable to renew. But, as long as the application is in before the decision is made, they will be given work authorization documents with the longest period of time possible on it.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to consider the Trump Administration’s bid to end the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA program. Announced by President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA allows young people brought to the United States as children to apply for a temporary status that shields them from deportation and allows them to work. The status lasts for two years and is renewable, but it does not provide a path to citizenship.

Read more here.
St. Mark's Episcopal school in Upland to close

St. Mark's Episcopal School, Upland, an elementary and middle school with a half-century's history of educating young people, will close at the end of the current school year, according to a letter issued to the church and school community on April 30 by the Rev. Karri Backer, head of school, the Very Rev. Keith Yamamoto, rector, and the school board and church vestry.

St. Mark's Preschool, which predates the elementary and middle schools, will continue, according to the letter.

The school and parish leaders write that the school had some difficulties several years ago, but the the board and vestry invested resources from their financial reserves to build it back up. However, the coronavirus crisis, which forced the school to suspend classes this spring, has upended their plans, and their financial resources are not enough to carry it through. Although the board and vestry considered many possible alternative plans, none seem feasible at this time according to the April 30 letter, which may be read here.

St. Mark's hopes to offer a "teach-out" for current 7th graders next year so that they may finish out their middle school studies before beginning high school, rather than entering new schools. St. Mark's will release more information as their plans evolve.

The board also plans to hold a final worship service, possibly in the fall, once social distancing restrictions are eased, "to honor the school and the many people who have been part of our mission over the years, as well a time to say goodbye."

The school held a May 4 virtual town meeting to answer questions from school families, and has made a counselor available to speak to students and their parents.
Inspiration
A prayer for a pandemic

The following prayer was read at a recent online meeting of The Episcopal Church's Executive Council. The original author is unknown; the prayer was sent to the council's presiding officers by the Rev. Devon Anderson of the Diocese of Minnesota and provided to The Episcopal News by Canon Steve Nishibayashi, secretary of convention for the Diocese of Los Angeles and a member of Executive Council.

May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors
remember those who are vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose between their health or paying their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country
let us choose love.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other
let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

Amen.
Institutions and organizations
Click on the poster for more information.
Abundant Table Farm announces new structure, interim director

The Abundant Table, a food ministry associated with the Episcopal ministry at Cal State University at Channel Islands, announced May 1 that it has become a non-profit worker collective: "a democratic workplace where all of us propose ideas, deliberate toward consensus, and carry out the decisions we make, always with a view toward the benefit of our collective vision rather than to any one of us individually." The board of directors also announced that it has named long-time Abundant Table farmworker and spiritual guide Reyna Ortega as interim executive director. Read more here.
Events
GFS invites all girls to 'fly away' in series of Zoom meetings focused on self-care

Girls Friendly Society in the Diocese of Los Angeles (GFS-LA) invites all girls, ages 5 and up, to "Fly Away on a GFS Journey of Self-care" via the Zoom teleconferencing program on three Saturday mornings. Participants need not be members of GFS. The sessions will be held on May 16, May 23 and May 30, from 10 to 11 a.m. and will offer devotions, dancing and music along with discussions on how to nurture emotional, spiritual, professional and physical health. Participants will earn a new GFS badge. The event is free, but preregistration is required. To register, follow one of these two steps:
  1. Email to gfscalifornia@gmail.com with "I'm ready for a trip" as subject line. (Questions also may be directed to this address.)
  2. Text gfsonline (all one word) to phone number 22828.
All Saints, Pasadena, announces May 12 blood drive

A Red Cross Blood Drive will be held at All Saints Church, Pasadena on Tuesday, May 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. With no known end date in this fight against coronavirus, there is a critical need for blood and platelet donors and blood drive hosts to maintain a sufficient blood supply for weeks to come. Donations will be by appointment only and appropriate social distancing measures will be taken to keep all donors safe. (All donors must wear masks.) To schedule an appointment, click here and type the sponsor code ASEC in the “Find a Blood Drive” search box. To fill out required paperwork ahead of time, click here. All Saints Church, which is located at 132 North Euclid Avenue, Pasadena 91101 plans to host additional blood drives on June 5 and June 16.
Webinar series from Episcopal Relief & Development continues with session on 'COVID-19 and Elder Communities'
[Episcopal Relief & Development] "You're invited to join us for upcoming webinars during which we will dive deep into topics surrounding COVID-19. If you have a passion for ministering to vulnerable groups, be sure to tune in on Fridays as we discuss the impact of this pandemic on each of us, as well as the people we serve. The standing date and time will be Fridays at 3 p.m. EDT/ (12 p.m. PDT). The topic this week (May 8) is COVID-19 and Elder Communities." Register here. The webinars will be recorded and posted online here.
Resources
St. John’s Cathedral Virtual Choir
An explanation of how the choir of St. John's Cathedral, Los Angeles, is adding music to the cathedral’s online worship, presented by Christopher Gravis, music director.
Science-based wellness and meditation app available
The Los Angeles Department of Mental Health has recommended a mindfulness and meditation web app titled "Headspace" that provides science-backed guided meditations in English and Spanish, as well as workout videos, sleep exercises, and helpful information to manage stress and anxiety. Los Angeles County residents can sign up for a free membership: click here. H/t the Rev. Alexandra Conrads
IRIS offers free virtual immigration legal services for DACA, naturalization and more

Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service (IRIS), a Department of Justice recognized and accredited immigration legal service office, has received funding to assist with immigration matters including DACA, naturalization and more. Potential clients may contact IRIS at 323.667.0489, ext. 100, or iris@ladiocese.org to schedule a virtual appointment with one of its legal representatives.

To "Dreamers," Meghan Taylor, IRIS executive director, writes, "As we await the Supreme Court’s decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, now is the time to renew your DACA (even if your current DACA is not nearing its expiration date). For a limited time, IRIS is able to cover the cost of the $495 Department of Homeland Security DACA filing fee. Funds will go quickly and are provided on a first-come first-serve basis."

To other church members, Taylor writes, "You can support the Episcopal Church’s advocacy efforts on this program by sending letters to your members of Congress through the Episcopal Public Policy Network’s Action Alert."
Free food resources for LA County residents during COVID-19 Crisis - and ways to help

[Los Angeles County - April 21, 2020) An estimated two million people in Los Angeles County suffer from food-insecurity issues on an ongoing basis. That vulnerable community is sure to swell because of pandemic-related economic losses in the months to come, but Los Angeles County is committed to preventing hunger and ensuring access to food for all residents. The County is currently mobilizing a countywide response to hunger by coordinating public agencies, nonprofits, and volunteers to provide meals to anyone in need during the weeks and months to come. The County is also launching new digital resources to help members of the public access food at no cost — including program sign-up information, maps, and frequently asked questions — all located on the County COVID-19 website. Read more here.
Emergency grant program offers funds for Episcopal Church deacons

The Fund for the Diaconate of the Episcopal Church has created a special Emergency Grant Program to aid deacons affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Grants will cover the time-period of March 1 - Sept. 30, 2020, with applications accepted until Oct. 15, 2020. Grants of $525 per month will be made for a three month time-period, with each grant reviewed monthly. Complete details, including FAQs and an application, are here.
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.
Our Saviour Center continues food bank, needs donations
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Our Saviour Center food bank remains open to provide meals across Los Angeles County. That means healthy foods and shelf stable items are provided to the center's neighbors who need it most.
The food bank depends on donations to keep the food bank operating. To support the agency, donate here. Our Saviour Center is a ministry of Our Saviour Episcopal Church in San Gabriel and Immanuel Episcopal Church in El Monte. Photo: Our Saviour Center food bank volunteers distribute groceries for Thanksgiving in November 2019.
Priests, deacons enlisted to pray ‘last rites’ by phone for dying coronavirus patients
[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal priests and deacons 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.
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. 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 with ankle bracelets and monitored if they had an address. The faith community could be able to provide short and long-term shelter. 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.
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. 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. (Bell reports that the cards and notes he has shared have been gratefully received by hospital staff — and that a simple note of thanks can have a profound effect on hard-working healthcare workers.)
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
Habits of Grace, May 4, 2020: An invitation for you from Presiding Bishop Curry
[May 4, 2020] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry writes, "As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing social distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.'" A new meditation will be posted on Mondays through May. These meditations can be watched at any time by clicking here .

"Hello, this is the week of May the third in the year of our Lord 2020. This past week, for some reason I thought of Mr. Rogers, who once said that his mother told him when he was a little boy and he asked her about scary things in the news and about difficult and painful things in the news. And his mother gave him some simple advice of how to handle that. She said to him, "Always look for the helpers." I have a sneaking suspicion that signs of God's continued watchful care, signs of hope, are in the helpers."

The video and text are here.
Task force seeks information on the theologies of money present within the church
All practicing Episcopalians invited to participate in survey: Responses requested by June 1

[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs - April 22] The Task Force on Theology of Money is listening to the theologies of money present within The Episcopal Church as part of the work assigned by the 2018 General Convention. The task force seeks to understand how Episcopalians’ Christian faith is expressed in, or is not expressed in, or is held in tension with, individuals’ relationships with money through the short survey in English, Spanish and French. The task force would like to hear from the full breadth of experience and expertise in The Episcopal Church the diverse ways theology of money is formed and articulated. More information and links here.
CDSP announces major new affordability initiative

The Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, president and dean of Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP), announced on April 13 a major overhaul of the Episcopal seminary’s financial aid offerings. The changes are aimed at helping students who are preparing for ordination with a bishop’s approval to avoid incurring additional educational debt during their studies. Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, CDSP will provide full-tuition scholarships to all qualifying new and returning students, and residential students will receive a meal plan and free housing (dorm or apartment according to family need and availability). Read more here.
Deadline extended for Episcopal Church’s 2020-2021 academic year scholarships
Applications due May 29, 2020

The deadline has been extended for educational scholarships from The Episcopal Church for the 2020-2021 academic year. A scholarship applicant must be an Episcopalian and must have the endorsement of his/her bishop. The scholarships are derived from annual income of designated trust funds established by generous donors through bequests to The Episcopal Church. The scholarships assist:
  • Students enrolled in theological education and training.
  • Children of missionaries, bishops and clergy,
  • Students of various racial and ethnic minorities, and other groups covering a wide range of eligibility.
Read more here.
The Way of Love calendar for the Easter Season 2020

A calendar for the 50 days of Easter, with suggestions for each day, is based on Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s “Way of Love” commandments: Turn, Learn, Prayer, Worship, Bless and Go. A high-resolution PDF version is here. The calendar was created by Sue Van Oss of St. Paul’s Church, Duluth, Minnesota, and is shared here with permission.
Updated Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs now available in Spanish

[April 16, 2020] Episcopal Church Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer N. Kurt Barnes has announced that the online publication of the latest version of the Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs is now available in Spanish. The Canons of The Episcopal Church set forth the general responsibility and accountability for the stewardship of the Church’s money and property. Title I, Canon 7 specifically addresses the business methods prescribed for every diocese, parish, mission, and institution subject to the authority of the Episcopal Church. Read more here

Manual de métodos comerciales en asuntos de la Iglesia actualizado ya disponible en español
El Tesorero y Director Financiero de la Iglesia Episcopal, N. Kurt Barnes, se complace en anunciar la publicación en línea de la última versión del Manual de métodos comerciales en asuntos de la Iglesia ya está disponible en español. Los Cánones de la Iglesia Episcopal establecen la responsabilidad general y el rendimiento de cuentas sobre la administración del dinero y las propiedades de la Iglesia. El Título I, Canon 7 aborda específicamente los métodos de negocios prescritos para cada diócesis, parroquia, misión e institución sujeta a la autoridad de la Iglesia Episcopal. Leer más aquí
REMINDERS
U.S. government resources are available for families

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) in post on its Facebook page has suggested some federal resources for families experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury is providing stimulus packages to people across the country. Read more here.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has advice to help you manage your family's finances. Read more here.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture has resources available for farmers & ranchers. Read more here.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration is offering small businesses low-interest disaster loans and other COVID-related funding options. Read more here.
  • The Social Security Administration can answer questions about receiving your benefits during this period. Read more here.

The FEMA notice is here. h/t Ken Higginbotham of St. Stephen's Church, Santa Clarita.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Links
Resource Roundup, usually an occasional release for clergy, wardens, church office staff and lay leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, is now published twice weekly in place of the Episcopal News Update. Items for inclusion may be forwarded to news@ladiocese.org.