COVID-19 and Next Steps: Reading & Resources

This is a page of links collected for the use of our Vestry and the Re-Opening Our Doors Task Force, which will begin its work in late May.  I am posting it here so that anyone interested may read. We will try to add useful resources as they come along – if you spot something you think should be on this list, send it to


Metrics for COVID-19 in Wisconsin, from the WI Department of Health Services:

Dane County COVID-19 Data Dashboard, from Public Health Madison & Dane County:

Forward Dane plan for the safest possible reopening of Dane County:

Forward Dane order, May 18:

Where we stand right now in Dane County metrics:

Current guidance from the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee (all churches closed for public worship through May 31; new guidelines anticipated soon):


A helpful piece on what kinds of spaces and gatherings are actually highest risk: “Basically, as the work closures are loosened, and we start to venture out more, possibly even resuming in-office activities, you need to look at your environment and make judgments. How many people are here, how much airflow is there around me, and how long will I be in this environment? …. If you are sitting in a well ventilated space, with few people, the risk is low.”

A great, clear explainer about why general mask-wearing is recommended. “Masks can be worn to protect the wearer from getting infected or masks can be worn to protect others from being infected by the wearer. Protecting the wearer is difficult: It requires medical-grade respirator masks, a proper fit, and careful putting on and taking off. But masks can also be worn to prevent transmission to others, and this is their most important use for society. If we lower the likelihood of one person’s infecting another, the impact is exponential, so even a small reduction in those odds results in a huge decrease in deaths.”

Restrictions on singing – a summary & advisory document from the Wisconsin Council of Churches. “There seems to be ample evidence to suggest that singing creates a quantity of fine aerosols that can stay suspended in the air for long periods of time, move with air currents, and stay infectious for many hours, exposing virtually everyone in a building. Our sources strongly recommend against singing indoors in public until a vaccine is widely available and widely used. For similar reasons, the use of wind instruments should also be avoided.”


An interesting piece on the emotional arc of isolation, and what we may carry away from this time.

On the possible long-term social and psychological impact of this time:   (Paywalled; ask Rev. Miranda if you’d like to read it & can’t access it)


An example of a church’s DRAFT re-opening policy from a colleague in Michigan. What I really, really love about this is how it starts with Principles and Priorities, grounded in who we are as Christians and how our faith should guide our decisions.

“Four Core Priorities for Trauma-Informed Distance Learning”: COVID and lockdown are a collective trauma, so there are some helpful principles here to guide us in our planning and communication – predictability, flexibility, connection, and empowerment.

Church in VUCA times (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) – a short video.

Leadership & planning in the era of COVID-19… Lots to chew on in this piece. Here are a couple of good snippets:  “Put way more into prep and gaming things out than you do into almost anything else.” – “ What processes and systems do you have to change. What takes more time now? What takes less time now? What doesn’t exist anymore? What’s new?”  …. Be realistic. We’re never going back to the way it was last year. You will never not have been traumatized by this, even when things are great again (they will be). Your team will never not have been traumatized by this. You’ll never have the priorities you used to have before. You and your team have new skills, and you’re also unable to do things you could do before. None of that is your fault, and you can’t change it, and no one expects you to fix it. Every morning, find the horizon, help your team members find the horizon, and pick up from there.”

A gritty but hopeful take from Lutheran writer and speaker Nadia Bolz-Weber: “You must have faith that you will prevail in the end, and at the same time you must confront the brutal facts of your current reality. When I stop and check in with myself I must say – I believe we will prevail. As [crappy] as this all is, I have faith in the power of human love and creativity and resilience and kindness and humor. And I believe God to be the source of our love and creativity and resilience and kindness and humor, which means there is an eternal supply on which to draw when we just don’t have what it takes.”

Tom Ferguson (Episcopal priest, historian, and blogger) on liturgy planning for the medium and long term. Some helpful ideas here…

And another piece from Tom looking forward at long-term changes to church life that may result from this season:

From a leader in the Episcopal Church of Scotland, wondering about the future of Eucharist. Some good questions to reflect on together – “What are the things about the Eucharist that are essential to the experience of grace that it conveys?” …. “What would a church look like that was blended from offline and online elements and how might they strengthen one another?”

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