Report and Policy Changes Around the Eucharist

Dear Friends,
In mid-February this year, we invited and appointed a task force to help us engage two things concerning the Eucharist.

To enhance our organic wisdom by offering theological reflections on the eucharist.

To recommend guidelines for engaging the wine/common cup during and after this exhausting season.

In response to our rather unrealistic invitation to deliver a result by March 23rd, this group of lay and clergy leaders worked diligently. They have delivered by collectively offering a gift to the church, the means of grace, and hope of glory, which we pray will have eternal and temporal value.

As bishops of our three dioceses, we endorse their recommendation and commend it to you without any significant changes. We ask you now to consider using these theological reflections and do your congregational deep dive into what it means for you to be a eucharistic community where you are.

We ask you to follow their recommendation to engage the wine thoughtfully using these articulated criteria: that the practice be reasonable, recognizable, and reverent.

Since we cannot predict COVID-19’s ability to morph, we ask that we respectfully stay vigilant, realizing that our practices may change again.

We also ask you to consider training a host of eucharistic visitors to help with home visits for those parishioners who choose to join you online. And finally, we invite you to consider starting these practices on Maundy Thursday, celebrating the deep joy and hope of Eastertide!

Phase 3 of our directives, the Plan for Re-Entry for Great Lakes Episcopalians has been updated to allow for the use of wine according to the considerations set out in this resource document.

Additionally, we invite you to two tri-diocesan teach-in gatherings via Zoom. The first will be on May 25th at 7pm, unpacking this resource created by our Fabulous Nine and providing a template to replicate in our congregations. The second will be on June 1st at 7pm, focusing on training eucharistic visitors and sharing resources.

We ask you to direct your gratitude to Almighty God for the gifts among us made manifest by these nine saints:

The Rev. Thomas Downs, St. Paul’s, Gladwin (Eastern Michigan)
The Ven. Beth Drew, RN, CCRC, Trinity, Three Rivers (Western Michigan)
The Rev. Dr. Jay Emerson Johnson, All Saints, Saugatuck (Western Michigan)
Mrs. Jelecia Geraghty, St. Paul’s, Flint (Eastern Michigan)
Dr. Timothy Gombis, Grace, Grand Rapids (Western Michigan)
The Rev. Dr. Andy Guffey, St. Mary’s in the Hills, Lake Orion (Michigan)
The Rev. Dr. W. Richard Hamlin, Retired (Michigan)
Ms. Amy Simons, St. John’s, Saginaw (Eastern Michigan)
The Rev. Dr. JoAnn Kennedy Slater, St. Luke’s, Ypsilanti (Michigan)
May this Holy Lenten season draw us closer to God, who calls us to make all things new even out of this season of sorrow and pain.

In the servant Christ, our hope of glory!

Faithfully yours,

The Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh
Bishop Provisional
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern & Western Michigan

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie Perry
The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan