Juneteenth Invitation, and Entering Step 2: June 16th Update from Bishop Duncan-Probe

Each week, Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe is offering a video message to update you on how the Diocese of Central New York is ministering in the midst of multiple crises. This week, Bishop DeDe invites you to join in viewing and discussing the film Just Mercy in your congregation, with a small group, or with your family. A discussion guide from the Equal Justice Initiative is available here. This invitation is the first step in our yearlong diocesan priority of Listening, Learning, and Responding as we confront systemic racism in America. In addition, the bishop announces that the Diocese is now in Step 2 of our “Gathering Anew” COVID-19 response plan. Beginning July 5, 2020, parishes with approved Covenants may resume limited in-person gatherings, following strict diocesan safety guidelines. Learn more on our COVID-19 response hub

Each of the bishop’s weekly messages will be posted on the diocesan Facebook page and on the homepage of the diocesan website (scroll down to News & Updates). We will also distribute the message by direct email to clergy, wardens, and parish offices, and include it in the Messenger, our weekly email newsletter.


Greetings, friends. I’ve just met with the clergy of the Diocese and we discussed many things. This week, on Juneteenth, we begin our initiative to listen, learn, and respond to systemic racism in America. I invite you to watch “Just Mercy,” a movie
that is available on many platforms for free, and to go to the diocesan website and download the study guide and have a conversation with either a small group, your family, or a trusted friend.

In addition, this week I’m also moving us into Step 2 as a Diocese. In this Step, we will be able to gather outside in small groups, in smaller groups inside, and also to have Communion, but without singing. However, just because we have the ability to do that does not mean that it’s the best thing for you. We must not forget that with this virus, it means there’s room at the emergency room and in the ICU for you–not that it’s over, not that it’s cured, not that there’s a vaccine. So when you consider whether or not to participate in a different way as a church, have that conversation with your priest, your wardens, and your vestry. And prayerfully consider what is best for you and your family.

In Step 2, there are now two options for Covenants with the Diocese. And yes, I’m still requiring a Covenant. We need to ensure and covenant together that all people in our churches are safe. That when we gather, people are gathering
in safety and that they’re cared for. There’s a Covenant that covers inside and outdoor gatherings, and there’s a Covenant that is for outdoor gatherings only. I encourage you to look at it, to pray about it, and to know that whatever you decide, the first and foremost thing we do as people of God is to respond to God’s call in our lives.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe
Bishop of Central New York

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