COVID-19 Response from ECMN
Find below all of the information that has come out from ECMN regarding resources and recommendations regarding COVID-19 response, and a regularly updated list of resources.
Have questions or need support? Contact your Missioner for Community Engagement, Rachel Babbitt at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 612-870-3321. Even though she's working from home, she'll get your voicemail!
ECMN Re-Gathering Guidelines
When the pandemic began over a year ago, we were all thrown into this crisis abruptly. We had very little information about the novel COVID-19 virus, how it was transmitted, or possible treatments. We were all forced to take decisive action, and that action looked the same for all of us--stay at home, stay safe, and adapt to a new online environment.
Over a year later, we have significant data about COVID-19 and excellent vaccines that are widely available in the United States. While this disease is still dangerous, and not everyone in our communities is yet eligible for vaccination, we are now at a time when our communities can begin moving into a new stage of living with this virus.
During the summer of 2020, we talked about the phases of living with COVID-19 as seasons. Last spring, we were in a blizzard, locked down together. But now, the COVID blizzard has passed, the plows have come through, and the snow is beginning to melt. As we move towards spring, with new growth and possibility, it no longer makes sense for us all to adopt the same course of action in every place. Our contexts, membership and community demographics, buildings, congregational size, etc. are so vastly different. As all those variables intersect with vaccination rates and variation in local mandates and regulations, a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer sustainable, helpful, or even possible.
Because of all this, the decision about when to re-open for in person worship now belongs entirely to the leadership of local faith communities, in compliance with local and state laws. We will continue to provide recommendations and best practices, which can be adapted to fit local contexts.
Download the Plan
We are now moving from recommending that you base your decisions on the case rate per/100,000, as this is a better measure of disease spread in the community now that people are being vaccinated. You can find the case rate in your county on Covid Act Now.
Submitting Your Plan
Your faith community still is required by the Minnesota Department of Health to have a COVID-19 business plan. We ask that you continue to submit your plans to the Building Use Task Force. You can submit those plans by uploading them here, and you can expect to hear a confirmation of your submission.
We have received several plans that have been an exceptional example. Find two below that can act as a template for you in the creation of your plan.
Leading Beyond the Blizzard
Online Gatherings, Tuesdays at 2pm
These gatherings, hosted by Bishop Loya, are held weekly on Tuesdays at 2pm gathering for clergy and lay faith community leaders. This is our time to stay in relationship with one another, and learn and grow together. Click here to register.
If you miss a gathering, you can find recordings from each week by clicking here.
Resources for Faith Communities
Bishop Loya has offered framing theology and sanctioned practices for practicing the eucharist during the time of pandemic. Click here to read it.
You can click here to find some resources regarding Ash Wednesday.
Webinars and Trainings
Click this link for recordings of past zoom meetings and webinars offered by ECMN, Episcopal Relief and Development, the CEEP network, and others.
Resources for Youth Gatherings
Click here to find resources to help those doing youth ministry continue to hone their plans for gathering young people throughout the year. We know there continues to be much complexity in planning, meanwhile the need for young people to gather in community is pressing. While they are not formal guidelines, this page includes a lot of resources and helpful ideas to help you in the planning process.
Financial Support for Faith Communities
There will be financial impacts on faith communities as this situation unfolds. There are resources available, and ECMN has formed a Financial Task Force to help vet resources, make them available, and walk with faith communities through whatever their financial journey may look like. Click here for more information.
Click here to find resources including best practices for offering online worship and services, as well as places to find livestreamed services on Sundays.
Pastoral Care Resources
Click here for resources on providing pastoral care for those within your faith communities, as well as finding places to receive pastoral care and support as a leader of a faith community.
Building Management and Planning Resources
Click here to find resources to help faith communities plan and prepare both for office and business closures, as well as for their eventual re-opening, including planning worksheets and building sanitiation guidelines.
Primary Resources for Information & Guidelines
Centers for Disease Control
Minnesota Department of Health
Has a main page which is constantly updated with information specific to cases and response to the situation here in Minnesota.
Here's a great guide to resources available during this crisis. This is especially great for people with children at home!
The Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church has curated resources that can be found here. Stay up to date on words of love and encouragement from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
Episcopal Relief and Development
Offers great resources for faith leaders that we commend to you, including recordings of the webinars they have been offering.