18 Mar Dealing with Coronavirus -COVID-19
CDC Resources for Churches
The banner headline in The Washington Post on Friday, March 13th, said it succinctly: “Outbreak begins to upend life across U.S.”
And that may be an understatement. Schools, universities, and businesses are shutting down. But what about churches – the place where so many of us gather weekly in fellowship? There are many answers to that question as individual congregations and denominations make up their minds how best to protect their members:
- The president of the Southern Baptist Convention called for a Day of Prayer on Sunday, March 15th. Meanwhile, the convention’s executive committee continues to monitor the situation.
- Many churches have cut back on communion practices, and others have stopped such routine practices as handshakes and hugs.
- Other churches have suspended services indefinitely or have begun streaming their services online.
Elsewhere, church leaders across the country are as we speak deciding how they will respond.
Each congregation must make its own decision. But we thought we’d share some resources to help you with that.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta has issued a wealth of information for how to cope with this situation, including a page specifically for churches and other community organizations. First, it urges each organization to update its emergency plan to cope specifically with the threat posed by Coronavirus, COVID-19 before an outbreak in their communities. It provides a list of specific considerations.
Ideally, you would have a general plan in place already. If so, you can update your plan based on various scenarios your organization may face during a Coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak in your community.
Then, in the event of an outbreak in your community, it suggests a number of steps, including:
- Consider the needs of older adults, persons with disabilities, and other individuals with access and functional needs in your response plan. Helpful resources are available online, such as the Capacity-Building Toolkit for Including Aging and Disability Networks in Emergency Planning.
- Establish relationships with key community partners and stakeholders. When forming key relationships, include the local public health department, other community and faith leaders, local businesses, and educational institutions. Collaborate and coordinate with them on broader planning efforts.
- Identify services which might be limited or temporarily discontinued during an outbreak. Find alternative solutions that will ensure continuity for your community, especially for vulnerable populations served by your organization.
This is just a sampling. The Centers for Disease Control has a wealth of information available to the public. Please check out the following links provided by the CDC:
- This quick overview of Coronavirus COVID-19, which can be printed and used as a handout.
- This page of other print resources on Coronavirus-related topics, also in PDF form.
It is our hope and prayer for your safety through this pandemic, and we look forward to continuing to serve the church community.
We would like to thank Southern Mutual Church Insurance for this information -please see a link to their website below:
You may also learn helpful information from our president.
Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Conference Issued on: March 13, 2020