Where we are now
Indoor and outdoor in-person gatherings are currently permitted in the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York. Robust online worship and opportunities for learning and connection continue.
Please carefully review current COVID-19 Response Guidelines for parishes. Parish leaders will be notified of updates to the guidelines.
The Emotional Life Cycle of a Disaster (Episcopal Relief & Development)
March 24, 2021:
- In-person gatherings for worship and other purposes are limited to 50% of maximum occupancy for the gathering space. Six feet of distance must be maintained between household groups. (Previously, in-person gatherings were limited to 50 individuals or 33% of maximum occupancy.)
- Decisions about whether to resume or expand in-person gatherings within the scope of these guidelines should be made collaboratively by clergy and vestry. In-person gatherings may not be appropriate for every congregation.
- Guidelines for singing at in-person gatherings remain the same: Singing is prohibited, except by one person per service who maintains at least 15 feet of physical distance from all others. It is strongly recommended, but not required, that the soloist wear a mask when singing. Participants should be informed in advance that singing, which poses a greater risk of viral transmission, will be part of the service.
- Individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccination must follow all masking, hygiene, and physical distancing protocols when attending church-sponsored in-person gatherings.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, God is calling Central New York Episcopalians to live into our shared vision of a world healed by love. We will care for our communities and one another through our faithful response.
The goals of Episcopalians in Central New York include:
- Sharing God’s love and hope with our communities in this uncertain time.
- Keeping Jesus’ command to “remember the least of these”—the most vulnerable members of our community–by doing all we can to slow the spread of infectious disease.
- Continuing to provide people with the very best pastoral care now and in the months to
- Continuing prayer, worship, and formation, whether gathered in-person or online.
- Continuing community outreach ministries safely.
- Careful and cautious: The population of the Episcopal Church in Central New York has a higher median age than the general population of Central New York and therefore a higher proportion of people who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Therefore, the churches of the Diocese of CNY will host in-person gatherings and open our buildings for use more slowly and cautiously than required by the government.
- Inclusive: To ensure the safety and inclusion of people who may not be able to return to in-person worship and gatherings, we strongly encourage the continuation of online worship, formation, and pastoral care.
- Transformative: We do not expect a “return to normal,” but rather that God is already doing a new thing in the midst of this crisis. As we learn to love God, one another, and all creation in these changing circumstances, our churches will be transformed.
Information about COVID-19
See COVID-19 Risk in Your County (New York Times)
Episcopal Church’s COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit
Churches and church leaders (lay and ordained) can serve as important trusted bridges between public health officials and congregations. Available in English and Spanish, the Episcopal Church’s COVID-19 Vaccine toolkit offers ideas and resources to help your church support vaccine distribution efforts.
COVID-19 and Faithful Response with Dr. Jessica Shand (URMC)
On March 3, 2021, The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York welcomed Dr. Jessica Shand of the University of Rochester Medical Center. A physician, clinical ethicist, and theologian, Dr. Shand presented current information about the COVID-19 pandemic, including COVID vaccination, to support parish leaders in making faithful decisions while keeping congregations informed. She also offered her unique perspective as a physician-theologian on how faith communities can support and contribute to pandemic response efforts.
Dr. Shand’s slide presentation is available here.
WHO briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines
Dr. Sylvie Briand, Director of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, WHO Emergency Preparedness at the World Health Organization, speaks on the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines to the Anglican Health & Community Network and the Anglican Alliance on December 10, 2020.
Dr. Briand’s slides are available here.
Overview with infectious disease expert Dr. Shafinaz Akhter, UPenn
On October 27th, the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York welcomed infectious disease expert Dr. Shafinaz Akhter of the University of Pennsylvania for a special conversation with clergy and lay leaders about the COVID-19 pandemic.
More resources by topic
Live Streaming & Online Worship
- Live Streaming Basics for Parishes: includes a recording of our October 2020 workshop on Live Streaming Basics for Parishes and other helpful links, including copyright considerations, Zoom meeting best practices, and more
- General Convention guidelines for recording online worship services in the parish register
Vestry Meetings and Online Parish Annual Meetings & Elections
- Online Parish Annual Meetings resource page: includes a recording of our December 2020 presentation with vice-chancellor Martha Berry and tips for conducting votes online
- Recommendations for Vestries Meeting and Voting Online: includes sample resolution for amending parish by-laws to provide for meeting and conducting business remotely