Resolution #5: Assessing the Church’s Response to COVID-19

Status

ADOPTED BY CONVENTION, OCTOBER 17th, 2020
Accepted by the Committee on Resolutions August 11th, 2020
Updated by the Secretary August 31st, 2020

Resolved, That the 171st Convention of the Diocese of California submits the following resolution to the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church:

Resolved, That the House of Deputies of the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church direct the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church to assess the response of The Episcopal Church to the COVID-19 pandemic in the areas of pastoral care, liturgy, evangelism, Christian formation, stewardship, community engagement, communications, and social justice work; and be it further

Resolved, That this assessment include an examination of the challenges encountered during the pandemic and of its differing impact on people of different racial and ethnic groups, ages, genders, wealth or precarity, abilities and disabilities, family structures, immigration statuses, and nationalities; and be it further

Resolved, That the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church report and make recommendations to the 81st General Convention for improving the church’s response to future disasters and to the changed circumstances of the post-pandemic church, as well as ideas that may be adapted for church life and work in the 21st century.

Explanation

The COVID-19 pandemic has been described by many as an apocalyptic moment, from the Greek apokalupsis, meaning ‘uncovering’, ‘unveiling’, or ‘revealing’ with intense clarity. COVID is revealing with intense clarity how the everyday structures of our world disproportionately harm some groups and benefit others.

Accordingly, it behooves the church at this time to ask what the pandemic has revealed about The Episcopal Church, so that with the eyes of our heart enlightened, we may know with greater clarity what is the hope to which God has called us (para Eph 1:17-18). How have the pandemic and our responses to it affected different groups in different ways? How have our adaptations to church life variously affected accessibility? How have existing inequities in our church affected the ability of congregations to adapt and to survive? What are the implications of this revelatory moment for the stewardship of the church’s resources? Lastly, where might we be called to greater boldness of action?

The pandemic is also a learning moment. We have already seen new forms of congregational engagement develop, not only in Sunday worship, but also in weekly Bible studies, church meetings, fellowship groups, and community outreach. The Committee should investigate what we might learn from these new forms of church life, from the successes and the failures, so that we might discern what innovations should be carried forward into the future and what unjust practices and structures should be left in the past.

Contact

Ms. Sarah Lawton: sarahelawton@gmail.com

Submitted by

The Rev. Cameron Partridge, St. Aidan’s, San Francisco
Ms. Sarah Lawton, St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco 
Ms. Laura Curlin, St. Cryprian’s, San Francisco
Mr. Ron Hermanson, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

Endorsed by

Mr. Warren Wong, St. James’, San Francisco
Mr. Christopher Hayes, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Ms. Karma Quick-Panwala, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
The Rev. Eric Metoyer, St. Francis’, San Francisco
The Rev. Ruth Meyers, All Souls’, Berkeley
The Rev. Debra Low-Skinner, Christ Church Sei Ko Kai, San Francisco
Ms. Diane FitzGibbon, St. Elizabeth’s, South San Francisco
The Rev. Chris Rankin-Williams, St. John’s, Ross
Ms. Michelle Mayfield-Baske, St. Stephen’s, Belvedere
The Rev. Br. Richard Edward Helmer, Church of Our Savior, Mill Valley
The Rev. Hailey McKeefry Delmas, Church of the Transfiguration, San Mateo
The Rev. Mauricio Wilson, St. Paul’s, Oakland

Comments

This resolution passed by a vote of Yes - 207 and No - 0. The legislation will be forwarded to the 80th General Convention as a "C" resolution.

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