March 24, 2020
Yesterday, the Honorable Gretchen Whitmer, our governor, issued Executive Order 2020-21. This order requires temporarily suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. This order is commonly referred to as “Staying Home Safe.”
This new “Stay Home Safe” order will have several ramifications for our congregations and the ongoing ministries and community services that operate from our church properties. Given the governor’s order, effective today and continuing until further notification, I am directing the following activities:
WORSHIP AND HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
HUNGER AND SHELTER MINISTRIES
In the past few days, many congregational leaders have contacted me with concerns over how the lack of in-person worship services may impact their finances. I share this concern and after prayer and conversation with a number of our lay and ordained leaders, I am directing our staff not to send apportionment invoice statements or Total Ministry assessment invoices to our congregations for the month of April. In addition, we will temporarily suspend the existing process of seeking apportionment relief and replace it with a new streamlined process. More details on the streamlined process will be forth-coming.
Going forward, I urge all of our congregations to explore ways that parishioners can continue to honor their pledges via e-giving or through recurring online bill pay options. And I ask that one member or leader of your congregation participate in an “On-Line Giving” Webinar that we are offering this Thursday, March 26 at 9:00 am.
AS A COMMUNITY OF COMMUNITIES OF FAITH
I am heartsick at the suffering that this virus is causing in our diocese, our country, and in our world. And I know that now is the time that we, people of faith, must embody Christ’s greatest commandments,
“To love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, and
To Love your neighbor as yourself.”
My directives are intended to assist us in doing just this.
I long for the time when we will once again be able to gather together to pray, to receive the sacraments, to laugh, to cry, to dance, and to serve. That time will come.
For now, we are all affected by this pandemic and working together we will come through this very difficult time.
In closing, I offer you words from the Apostle Paul, that have comforted me as I find myself saying them throughout the day:
Glory to God whose power working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to Him from generations to generations in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Ephesians 3: 20, 21
May they be of some comfort to you as well.
Wash your hands.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry
11th Bishop Diocese of Michigan
Info on the webinar here:
You are invited to a FREE webinar exclusively for the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan hosted by Horizons Stewardship.
When: Mar 26, 2020 09:00 AM Eastern Time
Topic: Critical Conversations–How to Make the Ask During Social Distancing
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Critical Conversations—How to Make the Ask During Social Distancing
Coronavirus has permanently changed how we worship, communicate, build community, and express generosity. It has also created an enormous opportunity to take the hope of the Gospel from the pews of our church buildings to the people and places in need in our communities. Now is the time to educate and invite your parishioners to adjust their giving patterns to ensure your church is fully resourced to meet the ever-growing needs of your community.
This webinar will address the most critical aspects of giving and generosity during this time:
Kristine Miller, CFRE, and Scott McKenzie, PhD., Partners with Horizons Stewardship, have a combined 50 years of experience in generosity and stewardship. They have written three books together including their latest, The Generosity Challenge—28 Days of Gratitude, Prayer and Faith. In this webinar, they will share practical ideas to help you accelerate generosity and fully fund your ministry during this unprecedented time—highlighting key decisions every church needs to consider and mistakes to avoid. A treasure trove of additional resources will also be provided.