Church attendance is one likely casualty of the COVID-19 situation in North America, but does it need to be so, at least at this stage of the outbreak?
As of the first week of March, caution and prevention of the virus’ spread are the watchwords from the CDC and local health authorities as related to faith-based community groups. “Promote the practice of everyday preventative actions,” urges the CDC.
--Practice proper handwashing and sanitizer use; provide tissues and nearby trash cans; and wipe down surfaces regularly, added Surgeon General Jerome Adams. He also advocates resisting panic and communicating factual, current data about the illness.
--Avoid shaking hands and hugging. Choose alternate methods of sharing in communion or the Lord’s Supper as well as collecting tithes and offerings. One church announced that collection plates would be available at the back of the worship area so congregants could give on their way in or out of the service.
Nurses can help their faith communities conceive and/or carry out emergency operations plans. As social distancing becomes common, plan how to meet the needs of the elderly, the disabled, and those with conditions that require greater degrees of caution.
--Utilize volunteers and/or church staff to call and visit those who may not come to church activities during this time. Involve community services as needed.
--Provide guidance with church staff about the types of events and activities that might need to be modified or postponed if the situation warrants it. How will the organization communicate with congregants and the community?
--Be the go-to person for up-to-date information and developments. Offer resources about prevention and infection control.
Most of all, serve God and the faith-based community with genuine servant leadership. Reject fear and embrace the example of Jesus and those who have actively faced plagues and hardships the the history of the Church. Share the hope of Christ and exhibit it through your care for your community with your hands, feet, and heart.
Free webinar, March 19: Coronavirus: Strategies for Spiritual Caregivers Dealing with the Chaos of Coronavirus and Other Infectious Disease Threats
Should Christians Be Anxious about the Coronavirus?
Coronavirus, Christians, and a Christ-Centered Response
Coronavirus Disease Outbreak—WHO