Covid-19 Update — Worship Service Changes and Ways You Can Help

Dear Family,

On March 12 we received an advisory from Michigan Bishop Bonnie Perry, asking Michigan congregations to cancel in-person worship services for the rest of the month of March to help contain the spread of Covid-19, a.ka. the coronavirus.

Just before the most recent Easter vigil at Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Ann Arbor.

Our sanctuary before a recent Easter vigil.

Her request follows one by the State of Michigan to cancel any public event of 10 or more people that are likely to include those who are most at risk for becoming seriously ill from Covid-19. As so many of us fall into those groups, the Bishop’s Committee met last night and decided to follow the state’s and the Diocese’s instructions.

This means that our in-person services are officially canceled through March 29. However, we will still hold services online. This Sunday, Joe will livestream his reflections from his home. We are currently making plans to provide services on Facebook and on Zoom; details will follow shortly.

We know the decision to cancel our in person gatherings is a huge disappointment, particularly to those who have been planning to be baptized or to renew their baptismal vows during Bishop Bonnie’s visit later this month. At the same time, we’ve been receiving emails from ECI members who are frightened of coming to church — and church needs, first and foremost, always to be a place of safety for those who enter.

As we work together to support each other through this challenging time, here are ways you can participate in our mutual support and care for each other – and feel less alone – right now:

If you are going shopping to stock up and want to buy a few extra supplies for those of our family who can’t do so, please make arrangements to drop off those extra purchases (non-perishables for now, please) with the Pastoral Care Committee via Michael Steer or Leigh Bagueley: michaelrgt@gmail.com or leighbaguley@me.com. Likewise, if you need specific support (groceries, supplies), please contact the Pastoral Care Committee.

Volunteer to check in by phone: Not every member of our ECI family are socially connected or have family members to check in with them – and others will feel most reassured, cared for, and connected to our community if they also hear from a fellow ECI member. If you are willing to make 2-5 or so calls every day to check in with and support other members of our family, please email Michael Steer: michaelrgt@gmail.com.

Possible supports for parents: With our schools closed, some parents may face some huge challenges if they still have to work. Even working at home while juggling child care can be very stressful. Any ECI parents who would like to form a mutual support group, please email Dawn Weirauch: wolfedawnr.@gmail.com, and she will connect you. At the present time, the best information says that younger people and children are impacted far less by the coronavirus. If you are an older teen/young adult and would like to volunteer to support our parents with occasional childcare, please also contact Dawn.

If you need financial support to stock up on groceries/supplies, please email Joe: jsummers@umich.edu. Likewise, if you’d like to make a special gift to the Vicar’s Discretionary Fund, please email Joe.

Finally, If you have suggestions for additional ways we can support one another through this time, please contact Dawn Weirauch directly to avoid inundating everyone’s inbox.

With love to you all —

Rev. Joe Summers and Your Bishop’s Committee