Where we are now

Indoor in-person gatherings are currently suspended in all parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York. Robust online worship and opportunities for learning and connection continue. Outdoor and “drive-in” gatherings, with Holy Eucharist, are permitted, as is live-streaming and recording worship from within church buildings. Essential community outreach ministries continue.

Please carefully review current COVID-19 Response Guidelines for parishes. Parish leaders will be notified of  updates to the guidelines.

Updates

January 13, 2021:

  • Ash Wednesday guidelines now available: Download
  • COVID-19 response guidelines have been updated to reflect continued suspension of indoor in-person gatherings: Download
  • Parishes may be eligible for forgivable loans under the expanded federal Paycheck Protection Program: Learn more

Overview

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
    come.
  • 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

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.

Health and wellness concerns

Mental Health Support
New York State COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline

Call 1-844-863-9314. The Emotional Support Helpline provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Helpline is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week.

See more resources from the New York State Office of Mental Health.

New York State Coping Circles

The New York State Office of Mental Health is coordinating free six-week support and resilience groups, held by video or phone, facilitated by licensed mental health professionals. Download a shareable flyer or learn more at ny.gov/copingcircles>

National Suicide Prevention Talkline

 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24/7, with special supports for Veterans by pressing 1 after dialing.

Mobile Crisis Teams

1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355)

Mobile crisis teams (MCTs) respond to mental health crises in the community within 48 hours of receiving a referral. Response time depends on the urgency of the call. Any concerned person can make a referral to the mobile crisis services by calling the above number. Teams are staffed by mental health professionals who can assess the person and their situation, provide crisis counseling and make referrals to community-based mental health and substance misuse services for ongoing care, and emergency services as needed.

Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook

Free, downloadable Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook published by The Wellness Society, an organization offering support to individuals who aren’t able to access traditional therapy.

Substance Use & Recovery Resources

Online & Mobile Self Help Meetings

Smart Recovery Group – Instructions

    1. smartrecovery.org
    2. Click “Find a Meeting”
    3. Click “Search Online Meetings”
    4. Select any meeting that says “Verifications Provided”

Narcotics Anonymous meetings by phone:
meetings.nabyphone.com

Narcotics Anonymous online meetings:
neveraloneclub.org
livethenasteps.online
virtual-na.org Virtual NA Meeting

A free mobile application called In the Rooms is available in Google Play. 

Narcan Resources

A directory for a variety of harm reduction resources, including Narcan: naloxoneforall.org/newyork

Narcan resources by region: health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/general/resources/oop_directory/index.htm

Domestic Violence Resources

National Domestic Violence Hotline Staying Safe During COVID-19 Phone number: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

For church employees: Employee Assistance Program (EAP):

Lay and ordained church employees: If you need support, your Employee Assistance Program is a great place to start. All employees who are enrolled in a Medical Trust plan, all members of their households, and all covered dependents, have access to this benefit.  The EAP is a confidential 24-hour service that can help you access the resources you need if you or a loved one wants someone to talk to.

To learn more:

Or to access your EAP benefits right now, call (866) 395-7794. You can reach someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For church employees: Your personal health and finances

The Church Pension Group has created a list of online resources related to finances, health, and your well-being that can help with questions you may have as a result of the disruptions related to COVID-19. Whether it is managing your budget, using telemedicine, or listening to CPG’s Walk and Be Well podcast series, we hope you find these resources helpful.

Liturgy and Worship

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Word to the Church: On Our Theology of Worship (March 31, 2020)

Spiritual Communion

Restrictions on in-person gatherings prevent the celebration of Holy Eucharist. As Episcopalians, we believe that Jesus is fully present in both Word and Sacrament and in this time, we are truly fed by Scripture although we cannot partake in the Bread and the Wine.

Bishop Duncan-Probe has approved the following resources for use in the Diocese of Central New York:

Prayer of St. Alphonsus de Liguori

My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I love you above all things, and long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.

A Form for Spiritual Communion from the Order of Julian of Norwich

Vigil for a Pandemic

Vigil for a Pandemic created by the Rev. Brooks Cato. Use this vigil service in your context or join the people of St. Thomas’, Hamilton to pray every Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m. at facebook.com/StThomasEpiscopalHamiltonNY.

Singing

As the Diocese begins to plan for a return to in-person gatherings, a fast from singing may be the best way we can protect one another. Scroll down to the “What we’re reading” section of this page for two articles on why singing increases the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Guidelines for tracking attendance at online services

View General Convention guidelines for recording online worship services in the parish register.

Stewardship Resources

From our diocesan Stewardship committee

Article: Stewardship committee offers resources for COVID-19, including online giving

Online Giving

Your parishioners can give to your parish online through the Diocese at cnyepiscopal.org/give-to-my-parish. Givers will receive an email acknowledgment.

Want to set up your own online giving campaign? There are many great options available. We recommend Tithe.ly but you can also view this comparison of online giving options.

Giving Beyond the Offering Plate 101:” White paper from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center

Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2021

On December 27, 2020 the “Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2021” was signed into law and includes changes to PPP and other SBA programs. As part of the coronavirus relief package, Congress has allocated an additional $284.45 billion for the PPP and extends the PPP through March 31, 2021. Find out more about this PPP Program Requirements>

CARES Act

Parishes may be eligible for forgivable loans, such as the PPP loan, covering payroll and some operating costs under the Federal CARES Act passed on March 27th. In addition, the CARES Act provides for an expansion of unemployment benefits to cover clergy and 1099 contract employees.

We have created this summary to help you better understand these programs: Financial relief for congregations and church employees through the CARES Act. (On May 1st, we added a fraud warning to this document about individuals posing as PPP loan administators in order to gain access to church banking information).

Apply for a waiver of up to four months of clergy pension assessment payments

The Church Pension Group is accepting applications from parishes to waive up to two months of clergy pension plan assessments. You can apply through the Diocese of Central New York. Details and information here.

Other stewardship resources

Also: TENS (The Episcopal Network for Stewardship) offers best practices to prevent a cash-flow crisis including online giving solutions, mission-focused messages, and lots and lots of gratitude!

Webinar: Church Fundraising in a “New Normal” from TENS and CEEP (recorded March 19th):  Stewardship professionals from around the church to discuss our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll talk about what we are learning, how we are responding, and ways to engage our parishioners in this new normal.

Webinar: Don’t Feed the Beast: Trusting in the Gospel in Trying Times from TENS and CEEP (recorded March 2oth): A moderated conversation about money, meaning, and ministry for volunteer stewardship teams, clergy, and lay professional fundraisers in the Episcopal Church. During this webinar, we focused on resources, inspiration, and tools our congregations will need in the coming weeks of COVID-19.

Clergy Pensions, Church Insurance, and Medical Insurance

The Church Pension Group is accepting applications from parishes to waive up to two months of clergy pension plan assessments. You can apply through the Diocese of Central New York. Details and information here.

Church Insurance is extending premium payment deadlines, and is exploring options for coverage of losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Details and information here.

The Church Medical Trust will waive all co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance for its members for healthcare services relating to the evaluation and testing for COVID-19, and will waive all co-pays, deductibles, and in-network coinsurance for its active members for healthcare services relating to the treatment of COVID-19. Details and information here.

Resources by Topic

Live Streaming & Online Worship

Vestry Meetings and Online Parish Annual Meetings & Elections

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