NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
Pastoral Letter from Bishop David
August 6, 2020
Sisters and Brothers of EDSJ,
I am aware that pastoral letters from my hand and heart reached you in March (two separate), April (again, two), May and June. The last correspondence came to you on June 2nd. Immediately following the issuing of that pastoral letter, a diocesan working group, as you know, put together recommendations for diocesan guidelines and protocols in our response to the pandemic. Subsequently, those recommendations were discussed and endorsed by Diocesan Council and Standing Committee and then made available to you.
Since June‘s pastoral letter, much has occurred. We spent the month of July in the largest social platform gathering in EDSJ’s history. Over one hundred gathered for five consecutive Wednesdays exploring and discussing realities of white supremacy, entitlement and privilege. We discussed the prevalence of institutional racism in our midst and explored how we might move from complicity to holy action. I know you join with me in thanking Constance and Dain Perry for facilitating this important work with us.
Additionally in July, it was my absolute pleasure to ordain Rev’d Angela Lerena and Rev’d Nelson Serrano Poveda to the priesthood. This was an unprecedented and unique occasion for EDSJ as we exercised social distancing, we wore masks and much of the service was pre-recorded. And through it all, God was there and God made the extraordinary occur as God does. Congratulations to both Angela and Nelson.
Since June we have progressed well on our diocesan-wide solar project. We are now thoroughly into Phase 1 and beginning to move towards Phase 2. Panels have been installed at St. Anne’s, Stockton and construction is beginning at ECCO.
And last week, we announced the arrival of Rev’d Julie Kelly at Church of the Savior, Hanford and Rev’d Ryan Eikenbary, at St. Anne’s, Stockton. Julie will also be serving at St. James Lutheran, Hanford and Ryan will also serve at Zion Lutheran, Stockton. This is the first time EDSJ has engaged in our full communion relationship with our Lutheran Sisters and Brothers. This is truly an important “ecumenical moment” for EDSJ. I know that you will join me, laity and clergy, in welcoming Julie and Ryan.
And other developments to note since June include the continued progress of our Creation Care Commission under the leadership of Deacon Terrance Goodpasture and the movement towards a Racial Reconciliation Commission. We have continued our weekly “Clergy Cohort” zoom gathering and this week we begin our “Weekday Virtual Visitations” which will ultimately include every Faith Community. And of course, socially platformed worship continues through our cathedral and diocese.
Lastly, concurrently released with this Pastoral Letter, our Diocesan Commission SJRAISE has launched a must see video on “Uncaged Art.” Please take the time see this important piece displaying the art of young people confined to Detention Centers. Please visit: diosanjoaquin.org to view.
So, Sisters and Brothers of EDSJ, we have not been still since my last pastoral letter. We have not remained still in these summer months. And we have not been still through this horrific pandemic. Much has occurred and yet one thing remains. God is with us and God has not been still during these inordinately challenging days of COVID-19.
On occasion, I have had clergy and laity recount this question posed to them, “Why have I seen people walk into the church, down the street, on a Sunday morning, or gathering outside the church, and we’re not.” I cannot answer for the church down the street. I can, however, remind us of our caring, cautious and conservative response from the moment we first became aware of this pandemic. I can remind us that God perpetually calls us to consider the safety, the well-being and the health of those with whom we share community. I can remind us that listening to health care professionals and the scientific community has also been and will continue to be integral to the development of Episcopal ethos, theology and practice. And I can remind us that you and I are called by God to actively pray along and walk through the Way of Love, that is the Way of Jesus, and that most definitely includes wearing masks, social distancing and consider how our decisions impact everyone in our personal and communal orbit. And lastly, I can remind us, as I have suggested, that God is with us and God continues to move in our midst.
Stay well and safe EDSJ.
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
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
Rev'd Luis Rodriguez (Bakersfield)
Rev'd Peter Ackerman (Lodi)
Rev'd Jim McDonald (Fresno)
Bishop David Rice (Dio Staff)
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.
A Pastoral Letter from the Episcopal Bishops in California
May 23, 2020
“Jesus said: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)”
From the beginning of the pandemic, our Episcopal congregations and our respective dioceses have been strengthened by prayer, study, and praise. In this time, our churches have never “closed” or ceased in teaching, fellowship, prayer and service to our communities; we have simply continued our gatherings on-line and in homes, bowing to Christ’s authority and the teaching that we are to act out of love for others.
As the weeks go on, the weather is nicer, and our solitude continues, there is pressure to get out, be among people and gather. Churches are a place where we feel that pressure intensely, for we are a people that is embodied and communal, and we often refer to ourselves as “family.”
Over the past few weeks, we have carefully considered how and when we will re-gather in person. We recognize that our plans are not as simple as unlocking a door and walking in. All of our congregations are actively making plans centered spiritually on our love for others, and scientifically on the realities of disease. The reminders from the CDC, and state government tug us into the reality that we still do not know enough about COVID-19 to gather safely in the same ways as before; we need to find new ways to keep our people safe.
We are grateful for our rights as Americans and as Christians. Even so, we put priority not on standing up for those rights, but rather on having the mind of Christ and becoming servants of God, of our congregation, and of our community. (Philippians 2:5-11)
For these reasons, each of our dioceses will follow its re-entry protocols as planned. We are carefully monitoring directives from local governments and especially the State of California, which will not permit in-person worship until stage three. When the time comes, we will make decisions that we and our discernment partners think best for the diocesan families we serve. For now, we will not re-gather in our church buildings but will continue to attend church virtually in our homes, greeting each other via technology, and loving God and our neighbor. We will continue to protect, serve, and advocate for the most vulnerable among us. (Matthew 25:31-46)
The way in which each of us loves our neighbor is sacrificial; it is a holy offering not only for our faith communities, but also and very importantly, for first responders and health care workers who are putting their lives on the line. As God’s people, we make this profound offering prayerfully and reflectively, knowing that in God we live and move and have our being.
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Right Reverend Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California
The Right Reverend Lucinda Beth Ashby, Bishop of El Camino Real
The Right Reverend Diane M. Jardine Bruce, Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles
The Right Reverend David Rice, Bishop of San Joaquin
The Right Reverend Susan Brown Snook, Bishop of San Diego
The Right Reverend John Harvey Taylor, Bishop of Los Angeles
The Right Reverend Megan McClure Traquair, Bishop of Northern California
Una carta de los Obispos Episcopales en California, 23 de mayo de 2020
“Jesús dijo: Amarás al Señor tu Dios con todo tu corazón, y con toda tu alma, y con todas tus fuerzas, y con toda tu mente, y amarás a tu prójimo como a ti mismo. (Lucas 10:27) "
Desde el comienzo de la pandemia, nuestras congregaciones Episcopales y nuestras respectivas diócesis se han fortalecido con la oración, el estudio y la alabanza. En este tiempo, nuestras iglesias nunca han "cerrado" o cesado en la enseñanza, la comunión, la oración y el servicio a nuestras comunidades; simplemente continuamos nuestras reuniones en línea y en los hogares, inclinándonos ante la autoridad de Cristo y la enseñanza de que debemos actuar por amor a los demás.
A medida que pasan las semanas, el clima es más agradable y nuestra soledad continúa, hay presión para salir, estar entre la gente y reunirse. Las iglesias son un lugar donde sentimos esa presión intensamente, porque somos personas encarnadas y comunitarias, y a menudo nos referimos a nosotros mismos como "familia".
En las últimas semanas, hemos considerado cuidadosamente cómo y cuándo nos reuniremos en persona. Reconocemos que nuestros planes no son tan simples como abrir una puerta y entrar. Todas nuestras congregaciones están haciendo planes centrados espiritualmente en nuestro amor por los demás y científicamente en las realidades de la enfermedad. Los recordatorios del CDC y el gobierno estatal nos llevan a la realidad de que todavía no sabemos lo suficiente sobre COVID-19 para reunirnos de manera segura del mismo modo que antes; Necesitamos encontrar nuevas formas de mantener a nuestra gente segura.
Estamos agradecidos por nuestros derechos como estadounidenses y cristianos. Aun así, damos prioridad no a defender esos derechos, sino a tener la mente de Cristo y convertirnos en siervos de Dios, de nuestra congregación y de nuestra comunidad. (Filipenses 2: 5-11)
Por estas razones, cada una de nuestras diócesis seguirá sus protocolos de reingreso según lo planeado. Estamos monitoreando cuidadosamente las directivas de los gobiernos locales y especialmente del Estado de California, que no permitirán el servicios en persona hasta la etapa tres. Cuando llegue el momento, tomaremos las decisiones que nosotros y nuestros socios de discernimiento piensen sean mejor para las familias diocesanas a las que servimos. Por ahora, no nos reuniremos nuevamente en los edificios de nuestra iglesia, sino que continuaremos asistiendo a la iglesia virtualmente en nuestros hogares, saludándonos a través de la tecnología y amando a Dios y a nuestro prójimo. Continuaremos protegiendo, sirviendo y abogando por los más vulnerables entre nosotros. (Mateo 25: 31-46)
La forma en que cada uno de nosotros ama a nuestro prójimo es de sacrificio; Es una ofrenda sagrada no solo para nuestras comunidades religiosas, sino también y, lo que es más importante, el personal de primeros auxilios y trabajadores de la salud que están arriesgando sus vidas. Como pueblo de Dios, hacemos esta profunda ofrenda en oración y reflexión, sabiendo que en Dios vivimos, nos movemos y somos.
Dios todopoderoso y eterno, atrae nuestros corazones hacia ti, guía nuestras mentes, llena nuestra imaginación, controla nuestras voluntades, para que podamos ser completamente tuyos, completamente dedicados a ti; y luego úsanos, roguemos, como quieras, y siempre para tu gloria y el bienestar de tu pueblo; a través de nuestro Señor y Salvador Jesucristo. Amén.
El Reverendísimo Marc Handley Andrus, Obispo de California
La Reverendísima Lucinda Beth Ashby, Obispa de El Camino Real
La Reverendísima Diane M. Jardine Bruce, Obispa Sufragánea de Los Angeles
El Reverendísimo David Rice, Obispo de San Joaquin
La Reverendísima Susan Brown Snook, Obispa de San Diego
El Reverendísimo John Harvey Taylor, Obispo de Los Angeles
La Reverendísima Megan McClure Traquair, Obispa del Norte de California