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Episcopal bishop shares learnings during COVID

Gretchen Rehberg

What we have learned about being the church and engaging in ministry during this time of COVID will shape us for generations to come. We have learned that Episcopalians can make changes quickly and effectively when we need to. We have been reminded that the church is the people not the building, and we also have been reminded of how valuable our buildings are for facilitating our congregations' ministries.

This year started as we headed into what I now call the winter of our discontent, then into a spring of hopefulness, and the burning off of hopes in the heat of summer. We experienced congregations going into and out of, and into, and out of, and into, in-person worship.

We urged our people to get vaccinated. Vaccines save lives! We had the challenge of the mask mandate returning to those who live in Washington. Currently we see our hospitals struggling with the numbers of patients who have COVID. Clearly, we are in this for the long haul and so the process of engaging in our ministries while keeping our people safe and healthy is ongoing.

Ministries are alive and well in the diocese. Women had an online retreat with more than 60 from around the diocese. Men had zoom Bible study in three groups during the year, joining one another across congregations and are planning a virtual retreat for next month. These efforts have brought our members together in new ways to deepen their life in Christ.

Our Creation Care working group and Beloved Community working group continue to meet and are looking forward to doing more with the larger diocese.

This year we launched four regional Community of Hope groups using zoom. Community of Hope is a Benedictine based pastoral care training. There were already three groups in the diocese. With this initiative, we were able to have groups in every region, with congregations joining for the training. It's great to have more of our members trained for pastoral care, able to support one another.

These ministries are beautiful examples of our diocese reaching beyond our walls to work together, study together, worship together and serve together. 

Bishop Gretchen Rehberg
Episcopal Diocese of Spokane

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, December, 2021