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Bishop Hougland will offer Morning Prayer on Facebook Live at 10:30am on Sundays. The service will be available on the Eastern MI (8:00am) and Western MI Facebook pages.

March 18, 2020

 

Dear Friends,


With heavy hearts and hope-filled spirits, we are compelled to offer a new Pastoral Directive in response to COVID-19. These new directives are in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

In addition to continuing to forgo all public, in-person worship services, we direct you to cease all other Sunday, Saturday and weekday in-person gatherings, including weddings, funerals, memorial services, and non-emergency baptisms, and place all of the groups that gather at your congregation on hiatus for the CDC’s recommended eight weeks, or until May 10th, including both Holy Week and Easter. We encourage you to make arrangements to offer your education classes or other meetings by video or phone conference call as you are able. Food pantries and feeding programs should operate in a “curbside only” capacity.

As Bishops, we make these directives so that the Episcopal Church across Michigan may lead our state in caring for our communities by embodying pastorally sensitive physical distancing practices. The more physical distance we place between ourselves and our neighbors, the more we help to mitigate the spread and impact of this virus. At the same time, we are called to reach out to each other in love, so that while we are physically separated, we are spiritually and relationally connected. The Body of Christ is more than what happens inside of our buildings - it is a people living the Way of Love wherever we may be. 
 

God of Life, you give us life and hope. Be with us in the chaos of this time. Calm our fears, be the light for our path, and strengthen our trust in your promise never to leave or forsake us. We pray through Christ, in the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

-  A Prayer for Chaotic Times, Enriching Our Worship

In Christ,


 The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr. 
Bishop, The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern & Western Michigan

The Rt. Rev. Bonnie A. Perry
Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

The Rt. Rev. Rayford Ray
Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan

 

 

March 13, 2020

 

Friends in Christ,


As your bishops, we care deeply for the well-being of all our people and for the communities we serve. As Christians, we are called always to love one another as God loves us, caring for the most vulnerable among us. There are many unknowns about this public health crisis, but this much is clear -- social distancing is an essential part of our collective response.

Many of you may have already seen Governor Whitmer’s new advisory this morning urging people to avoid large gatherings to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. In light of this recommendation, and in awareness that many in our congregations are amongst the most vulnerable population, we encourage congregations to refrain from coming together for in-person worship for the remainder of the month of March. 

As People of God, it is our moral, civic, and spiritual obligation to care for one another by taking the necessary steps to slow the spread of this virus and continue to serve our communities with generosity, hope, and joy. 

For more specific recommendations from your local leadership, please continue reading below.

O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination. Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

 

In God’s Love, 
 

The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr. 
Bishop, The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan

The Rev. Dr. Donald P. Kreiss
Bishop, SE Michigan Synod ELCA

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry
Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

The Rt. Rev. Rayford Ray
Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan

The Rev. Dr. Craig A. Satterlee
Bishop, NW Lower Michigan Synod ELCA

 

 

Dear Friends, 

We continue to learn, adapt, love, and move with the spirit! After a conversation with members of our Standing Committees and staff earlier today and as stated in the joint letter above, I encourage you to suspend in-person worship for the remainder of March. Please engage the leadership of your congregation to make an informed decision about how you'd like to proceed.

I also encourage you to find other ways of gathering, whether online or in common-sense small-group settings. Please continue to check in with yourself and with others as we support one another in this time. In doing this, we care not only for our own people but we witness to the world what it means to share God's love and compassion.

I plan to host Morning Prayer on our diocesan Facebook pages this coming Sunday at 10:30am. Please join me if your congregation does not have their own offering, and we'll experiment with this platform together!

Click here to view my letter from yesterday, with guidances that apply now and once worship may resume.

Click here to view a message from the Presiding Bishop, released today.

If you have any questions locally, please be in conversation with the leadership of your parish and direct any additional questions to Katie Forsyth, our Canon for Evangelism and Networking.

May God be with you,

 


The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr.
Bishop, The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern & Western Michigan

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