After almost 18 months, Episcopal House has reopened, beginning yesterday, September 7th. In March 2020, Bishop Hughes closed Episcopal House for routine use as part of our response to the pandemic. This decision was reinforced by the Governor of New Jersey’s directive at the time that anyone who could work from home should do so. Most of the diocesan staff has been working from home either completely or on a hybrid schedule, though some staff members have been in the building regularly, depending on their work responsibilities. Episcopal House has also been closed to diocesan meetings and events during this time.
Diocesan staff works Monday through Friday each week (except for the Bishop and Canons who work on Sundays and have a day off on Friday). Recognizing the need for flexibility after this long period away, some diocesan staff members may be working from home on Mondays and Fridays for some time. However, the diocesan staff is now generally on-site at Episcopal House on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week.
Diocesan groups, commissions, and events are asked to continue to meet online whenever practical during the 2021-2022 program year. If in-person meetings are needed for a group or event (whether at Episcopal House or elsewhere), Bishop Hughes has asked that in-person meetings comprise only 50% or less of the meetings scheduled. Online meetings should account for the remaining 50% (or more) meetings on a group’s schedule. The custom of providing meals at diocesan meetings and events will continue to be very limited and will not be available in most cases. Room scheduling will take into account the need to allow for social distancing, which makes some of our smaller meeting rooms unavailable for most groups.
Guests to Episcopal House will be asked to wear a mask upon entering the building. Staff members and guests alike should anticipate wearing a mask at group meetings and public events held at Episcopal House.
Please join me in commending our diocesan staff who have worked very effectively to continue supporting the ministry and mission of our Diocese throughout this time, requiring a great deal of resilience, creativity, and commitment. Their good grace and good humor throughout this time has served us all well. Please be patient as we adjust to this new hybrid model of working together going forward.