As we continue to monitor the situation with the COVID-19 virus, watching for signals from national, state, and local officials and listening carefully to leaders in our neighboring states and dioceses, the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon is committed to do all in our power to slow the progress of the spread of this virus.
This page will be updated frequently with news and resources for the churches of our diocese. Please check back regularly for pastoral instructions from Bishop Michael, information on participating in online worship, and other helpful links from The Episcopal Church and other organizations.
Gatherings in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon
Oregon Phase 2 Gathering Guidelines (June 24, 2020)
As the State of Oregon wrestles with understanding what is necessary to address our communities’ safety, their guidelines for reopening have changed. All congregations that have or plan to open need to be compliant with state and relevant county guidelines.
Below are the most recent guidelines for event operators and gatherings, both of which are applicable for churches. These guidelines are applicable for counties in Phase 1 and Phase 2. Specific questions regarding state regulations and local guidelines should be addressed with your county’s Public Health office.
If you have already submitted a plan, please adjust your practices to meet these new standards. If you have not yet submitted a plan, please address these required components in your plan to reengage your building.
Some of the highlighted changes include requirements that churches:
- Post signs throughout facility with symptoms and encouraging people to go home if sick
- Post signs throughout facility with info on who to contact if someone gets sick
- Provide hand sanitizer throughout
- Require reservations or advanced tickets
- Determine maximum occupancy of each indoor and outdoor area using 35 square feet per person
- Assign physical distancing monitor
- Use specific EPA approved disinfectants
- Assign sanitation attendant
What do we do if an employee or volunteer is diagnosed with COVID-19?
- First notify any other employees or volunteers who might potentially have had exposure. You should tell them only that someone was diagnosed with the illness, but should not identify which person is sick, even if they ask so they can gauge their own risk. Medical information, such as diagnosis, must be kept confidential. It’s okay if they figure it out on their own, but make sure you’re not the one to reveal the information.
Exposed employees or volunteers probably don’t need to quarantine unless they had close contact for a prolonged period of time (this isn’t precisely defined, but 15 minutes at less than 6 feet apart would qualify, even with masks). The CDC has the latest information on its website.
- Next, you should follow CDC and local health department guidance on cleaning and quarantining. Areas of the worksite where the infected person worked or visited should be closed for 24 hours, or as long as possible, then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
The sick person should talk to their healthcare provider to determine when to return. For those who have a presumptive case of COVID-19 (meaning they didn’t get a test), their provider will probably let them return when at least 24 hours have passed since recovery, as defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND improvement in respiratory symptoms AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
- Episcopal Diocese of Oregon Guidelines for Reengaging Our Church Buildings in English and en Español
- Guidance for Venue and Event Operators (Oregon Health Authority)
- Guidance for Gatherings (Oregon Health Authority)
We are living in extremely difficult and challenging times but times also that call us to a deeper sense of God’s presence and abiding love. The document that follows outlines our thinking at this time as we consider how to reengage with our buildings and continue the ministry of Jesus to the world. These guidelines are to be considered diocesan norms for this time until further notice, superseding any legal rulings on church openings. At the end of the diocesan guidelines you will also find information on the states phased reopening plan for Oregon. This is provided in order to give you the context for our diocesan guidelines.
- Diocesan Guidelines for Reengaging our Church Buildings
- Going out? Stay apart. (Poster from Oregon Health Authority)
- Do you have these symptoms? (Poster from Oregon Health Authority)
Guías Diocesanas para los edificios de nuestra Iglesia
- Guías Diocesanas para los edificios de nuestra Iglesia
- ¿Sale? Mantenga la distancia. (Cartel de la Autoridad de Salud de Oregon)
- ¿Tiene estos síntomas? (Cartel de la Autoridad de Salud de Oregon)
Videos en Español
* Guía para la Fase 2 en la Iglesia
* Informacion sobre COVID-19 en Oregon
Diocesan staff will continue to work remotely and can be reached during regular business hours through their diocesan email addresses and phone numbers. Click here for staff contact information.
Some churches in the diocese will remain closed for public worship services and meetings until further notice. Many are holding online worship and prayer services. Click here for a list of those services.
Outreach programs and feeding ministries may continue as essential services only if they can be conducted in ways that comply with the safety procedures for proper distancing and sanitizing. Please check with individual churches on the status of their food pantries, community meals, and other programs.
CDC Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/faith-based.html
Bishop Michael's Letters to the Diocese
As we continue to learn about COVID-19 and its impact on our churches and communities, Bishop Michael will continue offering advice, encouragement, and support for the people of Oregon.