COVID-19: Health and Safety

Most recent COVID-19 messages:

Updated July 3, 2020; 3:00 pm 
Bishop Megan M. Traquair

Dear Friends,
I greet you on this Fourth of July weekend. I pray that you will find a way to celebrate that is both fun and safe.
New state guidelines have recently come out about safe practices for places of worship during this pandemic.

Our priorities remain:
•    Protect the Vulnerable
•    Follow state and county health guidelines
•    Flatten the curve (slow transmission)
As we learn more about Covid-19, we get a clearer understanding of how to keep one another safe. The new guidelines give us additional information to protect everybody.
You can download the new state guidelines issued on July 1, 2020 by the California Department of Public Health here.

Major updates include:
•    Discontinue singing (in rehearsals, services, etc.), chanting and other practices and performance where there is increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets.
•    Places of worship should continue to provide services through alternative methods (such as via internet and/or recorded streaming, telephone, drive-in, etc.) whenever possible.
•    Required use of masks/face coverings for both members of the public and workplace settings where there is a high risk of exposure.

The public health authorities and leaders in this area (CA) understand the difficulties we face “on the ground," which is why we are looking to them for guidance on how to keep our communities safe.
It is becoming clearer with each day, that infection numbers are rising in California, and that is why we must each do our part in protecting those most vulnerable in our communities. We will faithfully continue our efforts to stay physically distant, and wear masks/face coverings where we cannot physically distance.

I am grateful for your resilience in keeping ahead of the virus and still connecting our people to the Living God through Jesus Christ.
May God bless us and our nation with health and the ability and will to care for others.

In Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Updated May 22, 2020 - 3:00 pm
Bishop Megan Traquair

Dear Friends,

The need and desire for prayer for our community and nation has never been stronger. The congregations across our diocese have been diligent in prayer around the needs of the pandemic from its beginning, in fact our prayer and petition and praise have only increased over these weeks. Our churches have never ‘closed’ – we have simply moved our gatherings online.  

We will not re-gather in our churches this Memorial Day Weekend. The time for this to begin has not yet arrived, we have not met the criteria for safely meeting in-person.

But, in these weeks I have been so encouraged and amazed at the faithful and steadfast response of our clergy and many, many lay leaders. Thank you. Despite our difficulties the Holy Spirit of God has been present, drawing together new and old friends in streaming worship.

Re-gathering is a longed for, but complex, issue. Knowing this, it is useful to recall a few guiding principles for discipleship in a pandemic: 

We are motivated by the love of God and the call to love one another as Christ loves us. (John 15:12-13; I Corinthians 13) 

We are grateful for our rights as Americans and as Christians, but we put priority not on standing up for our rights, but rather to have the mind of Christ and become servants of God, of our congregation, and of our community. (Philippians 2:5-11) 

We seek to protect, serve, and advocate for the most vulnerable among us. (Matthew 25:31-46) 

Over the past few weeks, we have thoughtfully and carefully considered how we will re-gather in person. We recognize that our plans are not as simple as unlocking a door. We have awareness of the realities of this new disease and the health needs of others.

We are a hands-on kind of diocese and are eager to show up in our usual places of help and service; pausing until we can be sure we will not cause illness in others is just plain hard.

Therefore, holding faith with one another, acting under my guidance as your Bishop, informed by the wisdom from scripture and data from science, encouraged by the Presiding Bishop and living the life of prayer, we will walk together in The Way of Love.

Dear friends, our churches - the Body of Christ - are alive and functioning right now. They are already ‘open’; and we are loving God, loving our neighbor, and following Jesus, wherever we may be.

In Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Updated May 1, 2020 - 5:00 pm 

A pastoral message from Bishop Megan Traquair 

Bishop Megan Traquair

"Our worship and connection during this time is a beautiful
and fragrant offering that is pleasing to God.
Thank you for your ministry during
this most difficult time."

We are planning for the return to our buildings and in person gatherings:

Timeline for your planning purposes, please plan to worship on-line through at least May 31, 2020

Plan for a phased return to our buildings, and in person gatherings

The phased guidelines will follow the CDC and public health guidelines from the State of California and will include input from the regional deans, the leaders of our governing bodies, and the presiding bishop’s office

A return to our buildings will likely include wearing masks and maintaining physical distance between individuals

Planning for the future, you may start thinking through the implications of these kinds of restrictions, and what this may mean for your ushers, musicians, cleaning crews, and other leaders

Details on the phases, along with specific worship and gathering guidelines, will be issued in the upcoming weeks

Online Worship Attendance Record

Updated: May 1, 2020; 5:00 pm
Canon Andrea McMillin

Dear Friends,

As Bishop Megan noted in this recent pastoral message, our online worship during this time has been faithful, well attended, beautiful, and a fragrant offering to God. We do want to count how many people are attending our services even in this time of dispersed and virtual worship. Each person who attends our services is a heart touched, a life changed, a family that is more deeply rooted in our church community.

As we gather online worship, dispersed yet connected, we need new ways to record these numbers in our formal register of church services.

The register book is an official record of the services in your church, describing what official acts are offered, and a record of how many are physically present for those services. That book must be filled in with accurate data: date, service, physical location (the church or a private home) and number of people present in that location.

If you are leading worship from your home, this might be: Morning Prayer, private home, 2 persons in attendance. From the church it might be: Holy Eucharist, church, 3 persons in attendance. In the memo section of the register, record that this is an online service. If you are pre-recording the service, please note the date that the recording took place, as well as the date that the service is offered online, as one entry with two related dates. This is an accurate representation of the event that took place.

The link below takes you to an auxiliary form for you to use for each service that you hold online, so that you may record attendance in those virtual, online, services – data that is new and not readily recorded in the categories provided in our church register. The Office of the Bishop has borrowed this document from the Diocese of Olympia (thanks friends!). You will see in this form a means to track the type of worship (Morning Prayer, Eucharist, etc.) and the type of virtual reach (Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Pre-recorded, etc.). We have also included particular metrics for Live-streaming/Pre-recorded Premiere or for Zoom.


If you are not sure how to find the metrics for the platform you are using, here are links to info for each:

If you are using a different virtual technology or finding different tracking metrics that have been useful for you, please let us know what you’re discovering. And if you are still struggling after viewing info at these links, please be in touch with our office – with Jay Elmquist at or myself at

We are all doing church in new ways, and this is the beginning of a journey into uncharted waters. Let us continue to gather together as the church, and proclaim the risen Christ to this world that is seeking new life.

Your sister in Christ,

The Rev. Canon Andrea McMillin

Updated April 16, 2020 - 8:00 am

A pastoral message from Bishop Megan Traquair  
COVID-19: Safety and our future

Updated April 16, 2020; 8:00 am
Bishop Megan Traquair

Dear Friends,

With the loveliness of spring around us and a month of sheltering in place behind us, many are eager to know what next steps in our COVID response might be. The short answer is that the steps will be carefully staged and will aim at the same criteria we identified at the beginning:

Participate in county and state Public Health initiatives – we want to be part of the solution

Protect the vulnerable

Flatten the curve to retain adequate health care resources for those who fall ill

The markers for next steps will be based on the data and science of how to deal with a pandemic. International groups and our own state have identified similar markers that can indicate when change could begin. There has been public discussion about this in the news recently. In fact, Governor Newsom has offered metrics that our state government is working on to ensure our public health.

The public health authorities and leaders in this area (CA) are the ones with the best grasp of our context “on the ground," which is why we are listening to them about how to keep our communities safe: they have the most knowledge about us and what we need to be safe.

It is also clear that infection numbers do not yet indicate a return to normal activity. We will return to a new normal in stages – but we are only in the planning stage – and are not yet at the activation stage.

This can be frustrating to hear and there is a good deal of grief we are all experiencing. And it is tough, our homes are filled with: young kids, dual careers working from home, and schooling in place; lost jobs, lost income, and the grief of lost opportunities.

My dear friends, we can do this. Our ability to innovate and connect is hardly tapped out. And we will find surprising gifts along the way. We will faithfully continue our efforts to stay physically distant, but socially connected. We will continue to shelter for the sake of others. We will dive into reading the Gospel of Matthew with the rest of the faithful in The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California. I urge you to join the Good Book Club here; for resources click here. (También disponible en español:

Like generations before us, we are faced with the demand that we do hard things without a guaranteed outcome. And like them, our source of courage and hope is in the promise of the resurrection: new life in the place of death. We will ride this out and return to re-shape, re-build, and restore our communities.

Right now we are gathering strength in our homes.

Be assured of my prayers for all of you and my confidence in our churches and our future.

In Christ,

Join your congregation in online worship

We will still be worshipping together online throughout this time of distancing and self-isolation. Join your congregation, or any of the congregations on this list for weekend worship. Check church websites for more information.

Updated April 2, 2020 - 8:00 am

Finance and Stewardship: A message from Bishop Megan Traquair featuring Kati Braak, Director of Operations

Updated April 2, 2020 8:00 am
Canon Andrea McMillin: Diocesan Administration

Recognizing the emotional and financial impact of the pandemic on the church, the health and sustainability of our congregations is our main focus, especially:

Worship and Holy Week

Finance and stewardship

Pastoral care of our leaders

Measures taken to support congregations during this time:

Routine meetings with diocesan governance, church finance and Investment Fund officers

Collaboration with clergy and lay leader teams, for a stronger response

Regularized Zoom calls with treasurers to prepare, support, and teach as needed

Pause on program spending as well as the hiring of the Missioner for Evangelism and Discipleship

Deferment of apportionment for qualifying churches

Creation of a Stewardship & Finance Task Force to help ensure long-term success

© 2013 The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.

Designed by: Element Fusion