Updated: July 27, 2021 5:45 pm PST
Please get Vaccinated! Learn how by visiting https://govstatus.egov.com/find-covid-19-vaccine.
Check with individual churches on the status of their worship, food pantries, community meals, and other programs.
Dear Friends in Christ,
News regarding the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 has raised questions from folks regarding the details in our May 21, 2021, Guidelines for the Reopening of Parishes. We are watching closely as California and other states are beginning to reinstate mask mandates for indoor spaces. As of today, July 27, 2021, our diocesan guidelines reflect the guidelines and protocols of the State of Oregon.
In the event that the State of Oregon or its counties change their restrictions, those restrictions will override our diocesan guidelines. Yesterday Multnomah County issued an update “strongly recommending” that people wear masks when indoors. This update takes precedence over diocesan guidelines and now applies to our parishes and missions in Multnomah County. Therefore, parishes and missions located in Multnomah County are strongly recommended to wear masks indoors.
The latest reports of the Delta variant confirm that there are now break-through infections (fully vaccinated people becoming infected by the Delta variant). Some of our congregations continue to follow stricter guidelines than those of the state or county. These decisions are supported as they reflect the specific context of each congregation. However, protocols may not be relaxed beyond those of the diocese, state, or county.
Individuals who are not vaccinated comprise over 99% of those who contract the Delta variant. Once infected, the unvaccinated are more prone to serious illness and potential death. Please continue encouraging folks to get vaccinated; share information on where to get vaccinations and share our vaccination stories to help dispel misinformation about the vaccine.
We are called to care for each other as well as ourselves. The virus has no regard for our political, social, or religious affiliations. The measures we take to protect others will protect ourselves as well. When in doubt as to protocols, wear a mask, and remember to wash your hands.
May 18, 2021
The latest Covid guidelines issued by the CDC and the State of Oregon have raised questions about gathering for worship indoors. The current scientific data supports the return to in-person gatherings without face masks indoors for those who have been fully vaccinated. The challenge for us is ascertaining who is and is not vaccinated. We will not be requiring any kind of proof of vaccination. We will require that individuals who are not vaccinated continue to wear masks indoors at all times and outdoors when gathering (as opposed to walking past one another).
Some of our congregations have already returned to in-person worship, requiring masks, because they have freely shared having all been vaccinated. These congregations may now gather indoors for worship without wearing masks. A plan for visitors will need to be in place as we will not require visitors to provide proof that they are vaccinated.
Others of our congregations have decided to wait until everyone is vaccinated before returning to in-person worship. As I understand it, these decisions have been made prayerfully and in consideration of honoring the cohesion of the faith community, therefore seeking to move into the next phase of gathering together in unity.
Those congregations who cannot reasonably know the vaccination status of their members will need to proceed with pastoral care and sensitivity. Health experts are now advising that those who have not been vaccinated are vulnerable to infection and should wear masks and practice safe distancing until they are vaccinated or the virus is eradicated (a goal that seems unlikely). According to CDC research, those who have been vaccinated are highly resistant to infection. In addition, they are not vectors for spreading the virus.
Masks are strongly recommended around children who are not yet vaccinated. This recommendation is to avoid their confusion as to why they are to remain masked yet some adults are not.
Singing without masks is permitted indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated individuals. If an unvaccinated person is wishing to sing, they are to wear a mask and maintain a safe distance from other unvaccinated individuals.
Returning to offering Holy Eucharist in both kinds is permissible if you have confidence that everyone has been vaccinated. If there is any doubt or concern about this, please continue to communicate Holy Eucharist under the previous guidelines.
We have also received the updated data that the virus is not known to be communicated from surfaces. This allows some relaxation of the previous sterilization of every surface a person may have touched. Please do continue to encourage folks to wash their hands routinely – this is simply good hygiene.
Overall, this is very welcome news. I am eager to begin visiting you in-person. And we should also remain agile and adaptable because this virus has taken us on many twists and turns. The best way forward and out of this pandemic is for everyone to get vaccinated. Please continue to encourage people to get vaccinated. It is now easier than ever to schedule an appointment.
Let’s continue doing what we can to keep our communities healthy.
Here is a draft statement from the Rev. Maria McDowell that may be helpful in crafting a statement to your congregation:
Wearing a mask is a sign of self- and other-care. It is clear that wearing a mask prevents sickness of all kinds. Covid has only increased our awareness of our shared community risk. Wearing a mask cares for our most vulnerable, those for whom the flu is dangerous, our children who cannot yet be vaccinated. For the those who may have been exposed to sickness or are unvaccinated: 1. You must be masked around children. 2. You must be masked to sing. 3. When receiving communion, you must be masked and maintain 6-foot distance. Communion can be brought TO you in this case.
18 Mayo 2021
Las últimas normas generales de Covid publicadas por el Centro para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) y del Estado de Oregon han generado preguntas sobre las reuniones del culto dentro de los edificios. Los últimos datos científicos respaldan el regreso, para aquellos que han sido completamente vacunados, a las reuniones dentro de los edificios, en persona sin cubre boca.El reto para nosotros es determinar quiénes están vacunados y quiénes no. No exigiremos ningún tipo de prueba de vacunación. Requerimos que las personas que no están vacunadas continúen usando cubre boca en todo momento dentro del edificio y cuando se reúnan al aire libre (sin incluir cuando alguien pase caminando solamente).
Algunas de nuestras congregaciones ya han regresado a los servicios en persona, requiriendo cubre boca, porque libremente han compartido ya haber sido todas vacunadas. Estas congregaciones ahora pueden reunirse en el interior para adorar sin usar cubre boca. Será necesario que tengan un plan para los visitantes, ya que no les pediremos que presenten pruebas de que están vacunados.
Otras de nuestras congregaciones han decidido esperar hasta que todos estén vacunados antes de regresar a los servicios en persona. Según tengo entendido, estas decisiones se han tomado en oración y en consideración para honrar la unidad de la comunidad de fe, y así pasar juntos a la siguiente fase de reunión unidos.
Aquellas congregaciones que no puedan conocer, en forma razonable, el estado de vacunación de sus miembros deberán proceder con cuidado y sensibilidad pastoral. Los expertos de salud ahora nos aconsejan que quienes no han sido vacunados son vulnerables a la infección y deben usar cubre boca y practicar un distanciamiento físico seguro hasta que se vacunen o se erradique el virus (un objetivo que parece poco probable). Según la investigación del CDC, aquellos que han sido vacunados son altamente resistentes a las infecciones. Además, no son portadores para propagar el virus.
Completamente se recomienda utilizar el cubre boca para los niños que aún no están vacunados. Esta recomendación es para evitar su confusión sobre el por qué deben permanecer con el cubre boca, cuando algunos adultos no lo están.
Se permite cantar sin cubre boca en interiores y exteriores a las personas completamente vacunadas. Si una persona no vacunada desea cantar, debe usar el cubre boca y mantener una distancia segura de otras personas no vacunadas.
El regreso a ofrecer la Sagrada Eucaristía bajo las dos especies está permitido, si tiene la confianza de que todos han sido vacunados. Si tiene alguna duda o preocupación al respecto, continúe ofreciendo la Sagrada Eucaristía según las pautas previas anteriores.
También, de acuerdo a los datos actualizados recibidos, sabemos que el virus no se transmite por medio de las superficies. Esto permite cierta flexibilidad en la esterilización previa de cada superficie que una persona pueda haber tocado. Continúe motivando a las personas para que se laven las manos de forma habitual; esto es simplemente costumbre de buena higiene.
En términos generales, esta es una buena noticia. Estoy ansiosa por empezar a visitarlos en persona. Y debemos también permanecer flexibles y adaptables porque este virus nos ha llevado a muchos giros y vueltas. La mejor manera de continuar adelante y salir de esta pandemia es que todos se vacunen. Continúen animando a las personas a que se vacunen. Ahora, programar una cita, es más fácil que nunca.
Continuemos haciendo lo que podamos para mantener saludables a nuestras comunidades.
A continuación tienen el borrador del documento que la Rev. María McDowell usa y que puede ser útil para elaborar un comunicado para su congregación:
Usar el cubre boca es un signo de cuidado personal y para la otra persona. Está claro que llevar el cubre boca previene todo tipo de enfermedades. El Covid ha hecho que aumente la conciencia de nuestro riesgo comunitario compartido. Usar el cubre boca cuida a las personas más vulnerables, aquellos para quienes la gripe es peligrosa, nuestros niños que aún no pueden ser vacunados. Para aquellos que pueden haber estado expuestos a enfermedades o no están vacunados: 1. Se debe usar el cubre boca alrededor de los niños. 2. Se debe usar el cubre boca para cantar. 3. Al recibir la comunión, se debe usar el cubre boca y mantener una distancia física de 6 pies. Se puede llevar la comunión a una persona en este caso.
Watch the video ¡Ya me vacuné! - I got the vaccine! to see some of our friends in the Latino community around the Diocese of Oregon talk about receiving the vaccine.
April 19, 2021
The increased number of individuals receiving vaccinations bring us closer to achieving herd immunity and thus the reopening of our faith communities becomes closer.
Re-opening parishes for in-person worship is on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the clergy and/or lay leadership of the parish and Bishop Akiyama. Bishop Akiyama will continue to take a more conservative approach towards a general statement regarding opening all parishes in the diocese, as some communities are in counties rated “high-risk” and others are “low-risk” by OHA. In addition, some small congregations in “low-risk” counties have fully vaccinated members and are able to gather while practicing the protocols around safe distancing and wearing masks in their worship spaces. The steps towards safely opening our parishes is an ongoing conversation Bishop Akiyama is having with clergy on their bi-weekly calls. In all instances, Holy Eucharist, if celebrated, ought to be distributed in one kind only.
What can you do? Consider getting the vaccine. As of April 19, 2021, the vaccine is available to Oregonians ages 16+. You can find out how to get registered for the vaccine by visiting covidvaccine.oregon.gov. If you are hesitant about receiving the vaccine, please read this message from Bishop Akiyama urging the diocese to consider receiving the vaccine. Please continue to pray for our community, front-line workers, and for families and friends of those who have experienced or have died from COVID-19. And finally, please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, and maintain safe distancing from others.
As vaccines for COVID-19 begin to be administered to the public we have collected information that maybe helpful for you. It is important to note that people remember basic COVID-19 safety measures to stop the spread of disease: wear a mask, social distance, avoid large gatherings and social get- togethers, wash your hands and stay home when you’re sick. This includes those who receive the vaccination. Continue to do your part to keep others safe.
Top message from the Oregon Health Authority regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine:
- Vaccination is the safest, most effective and most reliable way to keep yourself, your family and your community healthy and safe from COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccines are 95% effective and have undergone rigorous safety testing.
- Oregon will prioritize people who are most at risk and hardest hit. Front-line health care workers will receive the first vaccinations, with a focus on staff who are at highest risk of exposure to the virus in their work. Residents and staff in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities also will be among the first vaccinated.
- Vaccination gives us hope that the pandemic will end, but in the meantime, we need to continue safety measures to keep the virus from spreading: wear a mask, physically distance from others, wash your hands, avoid gatherings and stay home when you’re sick.
Three Questions from the Q&A Session with Faith Community Leaders
- Faith Community Leaders Vaccine Q&A with Oregon Health Authority - Video Recording; Powerpoint
- Oregon Health Authority: COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Providers
- COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit from the CDC
- Oregon-Specific Q&A Regarding the Vaccine
- Oregon Vaccine Advisory Committee Website
- Watch previous meetings of the committee
- Review agendas and meeting informations
- First notify any other employees or volunteers who might potentially have had exposure. You should tell them only that someone was diagnosed with the illness, but should not identify which person is sick, even if they ask so they can gauge their own risk. Medical information, such as diagnosis, must be kept confidential. It’s okay if they figure it out on their own, but make sure you’re not the one to reveal the information.
Exposed employees or volunteers probably don’t need to quarantine unless they had close contact for a prolonged period of time (this isn’t precisely defined, but 15 minutes at less than 6 feet apart would qualify, even with masks). The CDC has the latest information on its website.
- Next, you should follow CDC and local health department guidance on cleaning and quarantining. Areas of the worksite where the infected person worked or visited should be closed for 24 hours, or as long as possible, then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
The sick person should talk to their healthcare provider to determine when to return. For those who have a presumptive case of COVID-19 (meaning they didn’t get a test), their provider will probably let them return when at least 24 hours have passed since recovery, as defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND improvement in respiratory symptoms AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations has developed a toolkit for individuals, congregations and ministries to facilitate and promote COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the United States. This toolkit promotes the ongoing work that parishes and dioceses have already been doing, shares best practices, and offers ideas for ways that communities can help U.S.- based Episcopalians to facilitate vaccination, overcome vaccine hesitancy, and find information from state and local officials. Churches and church leaders (lay and ordained) can serve as an important trusted bridge between public health officials and communities.
In his public service announcement encouraging vaccination, Presiding Bishop Curry says, “This vaccine can prevent the COVID-19 virus. It can help you. It can help those who you love. It can help us all. The Bible says you should love your neighbor as yourself. And getting this vaccine, as well as wearing your face mask, and keeping social distanced, and out of crowds, these are some simple and real ways that we can love our neighbor as ourselves. To love our neighbor, and while you’re at it to love yourself.” Watch the PSA here.
“As a part of our work beyond the church walls, Episcopalians around the U.S. partner with the government all the time to help address problems in our communities, and combatting COVID-19 is no exception,” said Canon C.K. Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church. “We can not only encourage our fellow Episcopalians to get vaccinated to help us return to normal, but churches can ask their local health departments how they can best serve their community in vaccine distribution.”
The toolkit includes 10 actions churches can take to help get everyone vaccinated and resources from the U.S. government on vaccine rollout including links to every state and territory’s vaccine resources page, information on overcoming vaccine hesitancy, and even sample messaging.
Find the toolkit in English and Spanish here.
This toolkit will be updated as new information and plans become available. The Office of Government Relations also continues to advocate for U.S. support in delivering vaccines to countries being sidelined from vaccine distribution channels. To stay up to date on these efforts, sign up for updates from The Episcopal Public Policy Network.
Episcopalians are already doing great work in this area, and the Office of Government Relations wants to hear about it! Share your stories of engaging the COVID-19 vaccine rollout by writing them at The Episcopal Public Policy Network.
Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/faith-based.html
Large Meeting Guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html
- Workplace Guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html
- Faith-based response to pandemics: https://www.episcopalrelief.org/what-we-do/us-disaster-program/faith-based-response-to-epidemics/
- Keeping your community connected: https://www.episcopalrelief.org/what-we-do/us-disaster-program/remoteministry/
Request from the Oregon Governor's Office
The Governor’s office has teamed with the Office of Emergency Management to survey and assess availability of facilities such as RV/Trailer Dump Sites, restrooms, showering facilities, hand-washing stations, laundry facilities, etc. throughout the state. With the closure of restaurants, parks and recreation areas, accessibility is limited. As a result they are seeking out the assistance of Faith Communities, Parks and Recreation districts, cities, counties and other networks to help get this survey out as well as provide information if there is an availability of any of the above mentioned facilities. Your support is invaluable and greatly appreciated. Click here to complete the survey.
Online Worship Services through the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon
Many churches are offering worship on Facebook and YouTube. Click here to see a list of churches, times, and links.
We will be updating this section with links to diocesan churches that are offering online services as well. Click here to complete a short form with information on your church's online worship services.
The Episcopal Church
This page on The Episcopal Church website provides links to a variety of worship and formation resources.
Information from the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon
Church Finance Resources letter from Bishop Michael and Rick Grimshaw, Treasurer
Congregational Online Giving Form from the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon. This can be used to make a credit/debit card donation to any church in the diocese, which will be processed and distributed by the diocesan Finance Team.
Other Online Giving options churches can set up:
- PayPal Giving Fund
- GoFundMe Charity
- Vanco is waiving the monthly fee for text message eGiving through May, so you can use this simple tool to accept additional donations. Sign up here for your free toll-free text number, select “Text Transactions: And then share this member-facing video on instructions on how to give on GivePlus Text. If your church already uses GivePlus Text, your monthly fees will be waived through May.
Emergency Funding: In response to this crisis throughout Oregon, the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon Foundation will deploy rapid funding resources to churches, diocesan institutions and affiliated organizations. Click here for more information.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Memo detailing information for churches on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) poster for workplaces (click here to download)
Instructions for employers on posting the FFCRA poster (click here to download)
The CARES Act
Information on the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program
- Application information for parish churches
- Application information for mission churches
- Updates from The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations
- U.S. Small Business Association has produced an FAQ for Faith-Based Organizations regarding the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
- Donor incentives included in The CARES Act: memo from Episcopal Church Foundation
- April 19, 2020 Paycheck Protection Program update
Addressing Isolation and Quarantine Webinar: this was offered by Episcopal Relief & Development and the recording is now available. Click here to listen or read a summary.
Pastors and Disasters: a toolkit from Episcopal Relief & Development. Click here for more.
Ministering to Children, Youth, Teens, and Adults after a Disaster: a number of age-appropriate curricula from Episcopal Relief & Development. Click here for more.
Concerns for Clergy - Pastoral Care in a Time of Pandemic: a list of practical things to keep in mind. Click here for more.
COVID-19: How to include marginalized and vulnerable people in risk communication and community engagement: a booklet from an international collaboration of humanitarian aid workers. Click here for more.
The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina has a wonderful resource section with many considerations and helpful links. Visit their Pastoral Care in a Time of Coronavirus page.
Things to Consider When Holding a Funeral Over Zoom: written by a priest following her own mother's death during this time of physical distancing, this provides helpful insights on emotional and practical choices to be made regarding funeral arrangements. Click here to read the paper.
Distance Funerals, Complicated Grief: a YouTube video from the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab. Click here for the video.
Virtual grieving: Is there closure if there is no goodbye? an op-ed article from a physician and expert in end-of-life care. Click here to read the article.