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COVID Diocesan Policy

Pastoral Correspondence regarding our continued COVID response for Holy Week

A Pastoral Message from Bishop David on Reopening

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop David

October 29, 2020

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers of EDSJ,

 

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly (sisterly) love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”

                                                      1 Peter 3:8

 

“It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.”

                                                     Dalai Lama

 

As many of you are aware, last week EDSJ’s Diocesan Council approved guidelines and protocols submitted by the Diocesan COVID Task Force regarding the potential of gathering for worship in an in-person manner.  

 

In this Pastoral Letter, I want to take the opportunity to share some thoughts and reflections concerning how we’ve come to be where we are at this particular point in time. At the outset, I want to thank the clergy of EDSJ, Standing Committee, and Diocesan Council for their early decision in suspending in-person worship; and making covenant that opening for in-person worship would occur simultaneously throughout the diocese at an appropriate time. This act of solidarity speaks volumes about the character, shared vision, and mission of EDSJ. This covenant was an expression of mutual goodwill, common cause, and shared responsibility for one another.

Continue reading below.

29 Octubre 2020

Queridos hermanas y hermanos de EDSJ,

"Finalmente, vivan todos ustedes en paz y unidad. Traten de entenderse los unos a los otros. Ámense como hermanos, sean compasivos y humildes."

1 Pedro 3: 8

“Es nuestra responsabilidad colectiva e individual preservar y cuidar el medio ambiente en el que todos vivimos”.

Dalai Lama

Como muchos de ustedes saben, la semana pasada el Consejo Diocesano de EDSJ aprobó las pautas y protocolos presentados por el Grupo de Trabajo Diocesano frente al COVID con respecto a la probabilidad de reunirnos en persona para las celebraciones litúrgicas.

Quiero aprovechar esta Carta Pastoral, como una oportunidad para compartir algunos pensamientos y reflexiones sobre cómo hemos llegado a estar donde estamos en este momento en particular. Para empezar, quiero agradecer al clero de EDSJ, al Comité Permanente y al Consejo Diocesano por su pronta decisión de suspender el culto en persona, y hacer el convenio de que la apertura para el culto en persona se produciría simultáneamente en toda la Diócesis en el momento apropiado. Este acto de solidaridad dice mucho sobre el carácter, la visión compartida y la misión de EDSJ. Este pacto fue una expresión de buena voluntad mutua, causa común y responsabilidad compartida unos por otros.

Siga leyendo abajo.

Modified Reopening Protocols

October 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers of EDSJ,


From the early beginnings of this horrific pandemic, I have been joined by diocesan staff, leaders and clergy colleagues in expressing the ways in which our responses amid this crisis speak of who we are and to WHOM we belong. We have consistently identified that this is yet another opportunity to grow deeper into the Beloved Community we are Called to be... This has been no more evident than the urging to take care of one another (the other) by taking care of ourselves. This other-self care has and continues to involve sheltering-in-place, wearing masks and gloves and the like. We have been clear that our identity, our very reason to be, requires that we put public health over economics and theological-communal responsibility over individual rights. We have been clear that the need to reflect God in the Way of Love could not be more necessary than in our present contexts and circumstances. And we have been clear the Jesus Movement must inform what we do and how we do it during these days of COVID-19.


As we move closer to reopening, the aforementioned expression of identity and reflection of faith must not diminish. The guidelines before us are practical measures to ensure (to the extent we can) continued safety, health and wellness for all. When reopening occurs, we urge you to adhere to the guidelines and continue to frame them with words of faith, hope and love. We also encourage you to exercise caution, care and patience as we move into becoming church in yet another way.


I wish to thank the contributors of our Diocesan Guidelines. Participants on the Working Group were:

 

Canon Anna Carmichael (Dio Staff)
Ms. Barbara Vassell, Communicable Disease Manager, Stanislaus County Public Health (Modesto)
Rev’d Luis Rodriguez (Bakersfield)
Rev’d Peter Ackerman (Lodi)
Rev’d Jim McDonald (Fresno)
Bishop David Rice (Dio Staff)

 

Blessings,

 

The Rt. Rev. David C. Rice

Towards Reopening

 

As we enter into cooler seasonal weather and the state has amended its guidelines to a tiered, color-coded designation system for each county, the COVID-19 Task Force and the Office of the Bishop offer these guidelines as a way to begin re-engaging our congregations in person.

 

The decision when to reopen churches to in-person worship therefore needs to take into account State and Local health conditions and guidelines, what color tier they are in (a minimum of Red tier is required for in-person worship) and then weigh them against the risks for individual congregations.

 

Things the church must consider before opening:

 

  • This is not a “one size fits all” model, but rather a roadmap for congregations to make decisions about how to move into re-entry.  The first possible date for in-person worship is November 8, 2020.

  • Congregations should FIRST consider the option of gathering outside, provided that the weather and space allows for a group to gather.  If gathering outside, the Outdoor Worship Protocols must be followed.

  • A SECOND OPTION if weather and space do not allow the congregation to gather outside, a congregation should consider meeting in their parish hall if it is easier to create more space for distanced seating (at this time, 25% of occupancy of space and/or up to 100 people are allowed).  If gathering inside, the Indoor Worship Protocols must be followed.

  • FINALLY if the parish hall does not offer enough room for distanced seating, the clergy/congregation may elect to gather in the sanctuary (25% of occupancy of space and/or up to 100 people are allowed), provided they follow the Indoor Worship Protocols.

  • Prior to regathering (whether indoors or outdoors), clergy/wardens must complete the appropriate reopening checklist and submit to the Office of the Bishop.

  • If at any point the county returns to “PURPLE” or people do not follow the protocols set out by the Office of the Bishop, the congregation will need to return to virtual worship until it is safe to return to in-person worship.

  • For those clergy who feel that they are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, have symptoms or are sick, virtual worship is strongly recommended.

  • For those laity who feel that they are increased risk for severe Illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms or sickness, we ask that they stay home and participate in virtual worship

  • For those clergy who DO want to proceed with outdoor, in person worship, some form of virtual worship (either a live stream or a pre-recorded worship) is required.

  • Superspreading Events have been linked to religious services, singing and choir practice!

  • The congregation’s profile (age of parishioners, health of parishioners, as well as other user groups)

  • The congregation’s willingness to follow public health guidelines (spacing, wearing a mask/gloves, refraining from hugging/handshaking both in and out of church)

  • Physical space of facility (is there enough room to practice social distancing, would it be better to have worship outside, can the facility be cleaned and disinfected between gatherings/meetings)

Download the full document below.

Reopening Protocols for EDSJ

 

UPDATED: June 23, 2020

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers of EDSJ,


From the early beginnings of this horrific pandemic, I have been joined by diocesan staff, leaders and clergy colleagues in expressing the ways in which our responses amid this crisis speak of who we are and to WHOM we belong. We have consistently identified that this is yet another opportunity to grow deeper into the Beloved Community we are Called to be... This has been no more evident than the urging to take care of one another (the other) by taking care of ourselves. This other-self care has and continues to involve sheltering-in-place, wearing masks and gloves and the like. We have been clear that our identity, our very reason to be, requires that we put public health over economics and theological-communal responsibility over individual rights. We have been clear that the need to reflect God in the Way of Love could not be more necessary than in our present contexts and circumstances. And we have been clear the Jesus Movement must inform what we do and how we do it during these days of COVID-19.


As we move closer to reopening, the aforementioned expression of identity and reflection of faith must not diminish. The guidelines before us are practical measures to ensure (to the extent we can) continued safety, health and wellness for all. When reopening occurs, we urge you to adhere to the guidelines and continue to frame them with words of faith, hope and love. We also encourage you to exercise caution, care and patience as we move into becoming church in yet
another way.


I wish to thank the contributors of our Diocesan Guidelines. 

Participants on the Working Group were:


Canon Anna Carmichael (Dio Staff)
Ms. Barbara Vassell, Communicable Disease Manager, Stanislaus County Public Health
(Modesto)
Rev'd Luis Rodriguez (Bakersfield)
Rev'd Peter Ackerman (Lodi)
Rev'd Jim McDonald (Fresno)
Bishop David Rice (Dio Staff)


Blessings,
The Rt. Rev. David C. Rice

 

Where we are now: 

 

EDSJ-Stage 1: Shelter In Place
O Virtual worship services

o Allow for no more than 3 people in the same space for filming of virtual worship;  wearing of masks and 6ft of social distancing required

O All meetings/gatherings held virtually
O No in-person pastoral visits
O Limit feeding ministries to those which can follow safe protocols determined by health department.

BISHOP DAVID RICE

Anglican Communion

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EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF SAN JOAQUIN

4147 East Dakota Avenue, Fresno, CA 93726

Email:contact@diosanjoaquin.org

Phone: (209) 576-0104