The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern & Western Michigan announced on June 11, 2021 that we can enter Phase 3 of the Plan for Re-Entry for Great Lakes Episcopalians beginning on July 1st. Please see the communication from the Dioceses, below:
Dear Friends and Colleagues, We are very glad to announce that the Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan will enter Phase 3 of the Plan for Re-Entry for Great Lakes Episcopalians effective July 1, 2021. The first Sunday this affects is July 4, 2021. We enter Phase 3 for the first time as our vaccination rates are on the rise, our hospital and death rates are dropping, with new information from the CDC, and as our governor’s COVID policies are set to expire. We are due for celebration! This Phase of “Deeper Participation” is focused on best practices with only a few hard requirements, encouraging and empowering responsible local decision-making as you determine what level of re-entry is appropriate for your community at this time. Because Phase 3 had not been modified since it was originally drafted in March 2020, the statewide group has instituted some changes to the original document reflective of what we’ve learned over the last sixteen months. Here is an overview of Phase 3, including areas that have been modified: Masks are encouraged indoors and not required outdoors. Masks are especially encouraged in the following circumstances: ministry with immunocompromised populations, children’s ministry (while children remain ineligible for vaccination), and when distributing communion. There are no capacity restrictions nor distancing requirements. It is advised that precautions be in place to avoid crowding. The preparation and serving of food is permitted. Self-serve buffets are not allowed. Communion is permitted in one kind using bread or wafers. Communal spaces must be cleaned on a regular basis. However, it is no longer required that this take place before and after every gathering. Please read “Phase 3: Deeper Participation” within the Plan for Re-Entry for Great Lakes Episcopalians for additional detail and recommendations.
Remember that the pandemic is ongoing and while some aspects of our “normal” lives become more accessible, this may not be true for all people or all communities. Please remain generous and compassionate to folks who may not be able yet to return to in-person activities and to those that will continue to wear masks to protect themselves for whatever reason. We encourage you to continue to monitor the COVID Risk Map and consider instituting extra precautions should your county enter orange or red status. We are also accustomed to the experience of changing circumstances. Please remember that we remain under the pastoral directives of the Plan for Re-Entry for Great Lakes Episcopalians. Should factors beyond our control (new virus variants, etc.) prompt new restrictions from the state and/or CDC, there remains the possibility of moving back to a previous phase. As always, please route clarifying questions or concerns to Canon Forsyth at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be able to respond or forward your question on to the appropriate party.
Yours in Christ, The Rt. Rev. Gladstone Adams, III Assisting Bishop The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan
The Rev. Deacon Anna Leigh Kubbe Diocese of Eastern Michigan Holy Family, Blue Water
The Rev. BJ Heyboer Diocese of Western Michigan St. Mark's, Newaygo