Updated: March 8, 2022 at 11:00 am PST
Please get Vaccinated! Learn how by visiting https://govstatus.egov.com/find-covid-19-vaccine.
Faith & the Vaccine - new resource
Faith & the Vaccine - a resource created by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon to help bring a faith-based approach to getting the vaccine, sharing articles and videos, and offering answers to questions some may have about the vaccine and their faith. Included in this resource page are video testimonies by the Rt. Rev. Diana Akiyama, the Rev. Ernestein Flemister, and the Very Rev. Nathan LeRud about why they chose to get vaccinated.
Dear Friends in Christ,
This Saturday, Governor Kate Brown will lift the mask mandate for the state of Oregon. This comes after cases and hospitalizations in the state of Oregon have dramatically decreased from the winter’s Omicron spike.
In the Diocese of Oregon, we will no longer have diocesan-wide protocols and will instead provide a list of factors congregations can take into consideration when making decisions for their communities and contexts.
Congregations can decide to continue requiring masks if they would like. However, if a congregation continues to require masks, it is important to stay consistent with these practices. A requirement to wear masks and maintain a safe distance during worship should extend to coffee hour and related events.
Congregations should return to the use of the common cup and end the practice of individual cups. It is up to each person to decide if they feel comfortable drinking from the cup. If they do not, or if they have cold/flu-like symptoms, they should be reminded that receiving Communion in one kind is still considered receiving full Communion.
It will be up to each individual to assess their own risk of infection regarding COVID-19, and to protect themselves accordingly. Some individuals may choose to remain masked, either for health, personal, or other reasons. These individuals should be encouraged to do so, and churches should continue to have masks available.
Please note that federal mandates still require masks on public transportation, in airports, and in health care facilities.
Factors to take into consideration:
- Vaccinations help to protect everyone. Vaccinations and boosters provide an extra and important layer of protection against severe illness or hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
- Masks are still the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a well-fitted hospital-grade mask covering one’s mouth and nose continues to be the most effective way to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets and aerosols that may carry the COVID-19 virus. Unvaccinated, immunocompromised, and those with cold/flu-like symptoms should consider remaining masked.
- The risk of exposure and infection increases as the number of people gathered in a room increases and the reduction of preventative measures decreases. Singing unmasked increases the number of respiratory droplets expelled into the air and therefore increases the risk.
- Enhanced ventilation indoors helps reduce the risk of spreading aerosols. Opening windows and doors, or setting up a fan, to allow ventilation in a space will greatly reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets.
- Sanitizing and handwashing are good hygienic practices. Although it has been proven that COVID-19 does not easily transfer on surfaces, regular sanitation of highly trafficked and touched areas is a great practice to continue, particularly in food preparation and areas used by children. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water is also just a good basic hygienic practice.
- Consider continuing to livestream your worship. Sharing your worship allows for folks who are uncomfortable meeting in person or who wish to remain at home to participate in the life of the church.
Diócesis de Oregon Actualización de COVID-19
Queridos Amigos en Cristo,
Este sábado, la gobernadora Kate Brown quitará el mandato del uso de Cubre boca, para el estado de Oregón. Esto se da después de que los casos y las hospitalizaciones en el estado de Oregón han disminuido drásticamente desde el pico de Omicron en invierno.
En la Diócesis de Oregón, ya no tendremos protocolos para toda la diócesis y, en cambio, proporcionaremos una lista de factores que las congregaciones pueden tener en cuenta al tomar decisiones para sus comunidades y en sus contextos.
Las congregaciones pueden decidir continuar requiriendo cubre bocas si así lo desean. Sin embargo, si una congregación continúa requiriendo cubre bocas, es importante mantenerse constante con estas prácticas. El requisito de usar cubre bocas y mantener una distancia segura durante el culto debe extenderse a la hora del café y eventos relacionados.
Las congregaciones pueden volver al uso de la copa común y poner fin a la práctica de las copas individuales. Depende de cada persona decidir si se siente cómoda bebiendo del cáliz. Si no lo hacen, o si tienen síntomas similares a los de un resfriado/gripe, se les debe recordar que recibir la Comunión en una sola forma todavía se considera recibir la Comunión completa.
Cada individuo tendrá que evaluar su propio riesgo de infección con respecto a COVID-19 y protegerse de acuerdo a ese riesgo. Algunas personas pueden optar por seguir usando el cubre boca, ya sea por razones de salud, personales o cualquier otras. Se debe alentar a estas personas a que lo hagan, y las iglesias deben seguir teniendo cubre bocas disponibles.
Tenga en cuenta que los mandatos federales aún requieren cubre bocas en el transporte público, en los aeropuertos y en los centros de atención médica.
Factores para tener en cuenta:
- Las vacunas ayudan a proteger a todos. Las vacunas y los refuerzos brindan una capa adicional y muy importante de protección contra enfermedades graves y hospitalizaciones debido a COVID-19.
- Los cubre bocas siguen siendo la mejor manera de reducir la propagación de COVID-19. Usar apropiadamente un cubre boca de alto grado, bien ajustado que cubra la boca y la nariz sigue siendo la forma más efectiva de reducir la propagación de gotitas y aerosoles respiratorios que pueden transmitir el virus COVID-19. Los que no estén vacunados, inmunocomprometidos y aquellos con síntomas similares a los del resfriado/gripe deben considerar usar un cubre boca.
- El riesgo de exposición e infección aumenta a medida que aumenta el número de personas reunidas en una habitación y disminuye la reducción de las medidas preventivas. Cantar sin cubre boca aumenta la cantidad de gotitas respiratorias expulsadas al aire y por lo tanto aumenta el riesgo.
- Una ventilación adecuada en el interior ayuda a reducir el riesgo de esparcir aerosoles. Abrir ventanas y puertas, o instalar un ventilador para permitir la ventilación en un espacio, reducirá en gran medida la transmisión de aerosol o gotitas respiratorias.
- El lavarse las manos y el uso de desinfectantes son buenas prácticas de higiene. Aunque se ha demostrado que el COVID-19 no se transmite fácilmente en las superficies, es una buena práctica continuar desinfectando de forma regular las áreas de mucho tráfico y contacto, particularmente en la preparación de alimentos y las áreas utilizadas por los niños. Lavarse las manos regularmente con agua y jabón también es una buena práctica básica de higiene.
- Considere continuar transmitiendo en vivo sus servicios. Compartir los servicios permite que las personas que no se sienten cómodas reuniéndose en persona o que desean quedarse en casa, puedan participar en la vida de la iglesia.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Over the last few weeks, we have seen record COVID-19 case numbers across the country and in Oregon. The Omicron variant has spread through our communities at such a rapid rate that it has overwhelmed our hospitals and clinics, made it difficult to get appointments for Covid tests, and prolonged the stress in our daily lives, again. Although the Omicron variant appears to be mild for those who are vaccinated and boosted, it is still a serious risk for those who are not vaccinated (including children under the age of 5), are immuno-compromised, and have high-risk or other health issues causing them to be more vulnerable.
The context of each congregation in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon is different, and therefore decisions about in-person gathering vs. online gathering should be made by the clergy, vestry, and leaders of each congregation. The guidelines for this diocese (below) remain unchanged. Any changes issued by the Governor will override the diocesan guidelines. Wearing an N95, or KN95 mask, rather than a cloth mask, provides the most protection for you and your neighbor. If you have access to N95 or KN95 masks, please wear them.
It is important we continue to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities from COVID-19 and its variants. This virus has shaped our reality for 2 years and it appears it will remain as part of our reality for a while. We are all tired, but we should not give up. If you have not gotten vaccinated or received your booster, please do so.
Please hold our healthcare workers, teachers, and all who are at high risk or high exposure in your prayers.
COVID-19 Guidelines for the Diocese of Oregon:
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth, regardless of your vaccination status.
- Masks are required for indoor gatherings, and since August 27, masks are required for outdoor gatherings where distance cannot be kept between households.
- Continue to provide masks to visitors and members who arrive without one.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Continue to provide hand sanitizer to visitors and staff throughout your building.
- Reduce the number of individuals gathering for in-person worship or consider online services.
- The safe number for in-person worship will vary depending on the size of each congregation’s worship space.
- Assess your worship space (if you haven’t done so already) and calculate how many individuals can gather to maintain a safe distance between family units. For many, it may be as simple as revisiting your plans from earlier in the pandemic.
- Clergy may wear a mask while preaching and celebrating the Eucharist. Lectors, cantors, and all participants in liturgy should be masked.
- Congregational singing is not advised. However, if your congregation does choose to sing, all should remain masked. Cantors, soloists, and choirs should be masked and maintain distance from each other and the congregation.
- Communion may be distributed in one kind*. Clergy should remind congregations that receiving Communion in one kind constitutes full Communion.
- Clergy and Eucharistic ministers should consider bringing the Host to each person individually and family unit rather than inviting people up to an altar rail. This allows for all to remain distanced rather than crowding near the altar or in a line.
- *If the congregation is fully vaccinated and physical distance between households are kept, they may resume using the common cup.
- Exchanging The Peace should be done from a distance rather than in the form of a hug or handshake.
- All indoor fellowship activities (coffee hour, bible study, Sunday School, etc.) should be moved outdoors, eliminated, or moved online.
- If these activities do remain indoors, individuals should be masked and maintain a safe distance from others, regardless of vaccination status.
- If moved outdoors, individuals also should remain masked unless proper distance is provided between households.
- External programs should adhere to local and state mandates with regards to masks.
- If you learn you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should get tested. Tests are free and easily available, find the closest testing center to you here.
- You can order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests through the government to be shipped to your house here.
- If someone on your staff tests positive for COVID-19 they should isolate at home; everyone on staff should be tested, wear masks and isolate until receiving a negative result.
- Get vaccinated and encourage others to get vaccinated. Vaccines are now required for all active clergy in the Diocese of Oregon. Find your closest vaccination location here. Vaccinations are safe and effective.
- If a booster shot is available for you, please schedule one according to the CDC recommendations and guidelines.
Please continue to pray for our world, our nation, and our health care professionals. Pray for loved ones and strangers alike. We are all created in God’s image; be kind to one another, including yourselves.
Stay safe. And wash your hands.
August 11, 2021
Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and the evolving variants of the COVID-19 virus throughout Oregon, vaccinations are more important than ever to move beyond this pandemic. Therefore, effective immediately, COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all staff members on the diocesan staff. Staff members who are unable to receive vaccinations for medical reasons will need to provide verification from their physician.
Bishop Akiyama strongly recommends parish clergy and lay leaders to have conversations about vaccination requirements with their staff. Please get vaccinated and continue to urge others in your community to get vaccinated.
You find out more about vaccinations, including where to get one, by visiting: https://govstatus.egov.com/find-covid-19-vaccine.
COVID-19 Se Requiere que el Personal Diocesano esté vacunado
Debido al reciente aumento en los casos de COVID-19 y las variantes en el desarrollo del virus COVID-19 en todo Oregon, las vacunas son más importantes que nunca para superar esta pandemia. Por lo tanto, de manera inmediata, se requiere que reciban la vacuna COVID-19 a todos los miembros del personal diocesano. Los miembros del personal que no puedan recibir las vacunas por razones médicas deberán proporcionar una verificación de su médico.
La Obispa Akiyama recomienda encarecidamente al clero y a los líderes laicos de las congragaciones que conversen sobre los requisitos de vacunación con su personal. Por favor, vacúnese y continúe animando a otros miembros de su comunidad a vacunarse.
Puede obtener más información sobre las vacunas, incluyendo el lugar para obtener una, visitando: https://govstatus.egov.com/find-covid-19-vaccine
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.
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
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.
- 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/
Information from the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon
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:
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.