Michigan Episcopalians move back to no in-person gatherings; live-streaming from inside the church allowed

On Monday evening, November 16, notice of changes in the Re-Entry document was sent to all congregations. Effective Sunday, November 22, Episcopalians in Michigan will move back to no in-person gatherings. This was done “with great compassion and deep sadness.”

At the same time, a new in-between phase – Phase1.5 – has been created to allow for the ability to live-stream from inside the church building. While the Governor’s November 15 restrictions are in place for three weeks, we should anticipate living into Phase 1.5 for some time – including over the Advent and Christmas seasons, and into the winter months.

The main points of Phase 1.5 are as follows: 1) Buildings are closed to visitors; 2) Office staff are encouraged to work from home, but minimal in-person staffing is permitted to maintain essential operations; 3) No in-person worship is allowed. However, live-streaming from inside the building is permitted with no more than ten participants, limited to those holding specific duties (worship leader, technical support); 4) In-person meetings and gatherings (such as bible studies, vestry meetings, community groups, etc.) are not permitted and are encouraged to employ
online modes of gathering instead; and 5) Service programs with distribution ministries are permitted on an outdoor, curbside basis only.

The full Re-Entry document will be made available to the parish. The new document now requires rather than encourages contact tracing logs for any person entering the building for Phase 1 or Phase 2.

The authors of the Re-Entry document remind us “ . . . while our buildings are lose, our churches are not. We can continue to share the Good News and beloved community with one another during this time of physical separation, especially through the use of online tools.”

To view the full email from the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan click here.

To view the updated “Plan for Re-Entry” click here.