A CONCISE RESPONSE TO COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
I’m sure by now you are aware of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus. It is important for us to be both well informed and steadfast in faith. As followers of Jesus, God does not intend for us to live in fear. The Scriptures remind us that God’s “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18) and death has no sting (1 Corinthians 15:55).
FAST FACTS ON COVID-19
1. COVID-19 was first detected in China and has now been detected in nearly 90 locations internationally, including in the United States. There is at least one confirmed case on Long Island as of Friday, March 4, 2020.
2. To date, there have been approximately 105,555 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,562 deaths.
3. Relatively speaking, there have been very few (known) cases of infection or fatality among children, teens, and twenty-somethings even though these age groups are not any more socially isolated than other age groups. In fact, through mid-January, there were no known cases of children infected with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions seem to be at a greater risk.
HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND?
1. Faith, not Fear - Disease is a fact of human existence. We are not to panic, but to trust God. The Lord “is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). To trust in the Lord amid trouble is to experience and bear witness to the power of Christ.
2. Prayer - We are called to be people of prayer, caring for the sick and dying (Matthew 10:8), at times at the risk of our own lives (John 15:13). Pray for our leaders, medical professionals, and caregivers — that they would bring healing and be protected from harm.
3. Wisdom - We are called to use wisdom at all times. Here’s how we’re walking that out right now.
a) SUNDAY GATHERINGS. Our Sunday gatherings are all still happening. Nothing has been cancelled. However, if you are sick, or you think you might be, please stay home and get well. You can follow a recording of our Sunday service on our website. We’ll continue to monitor the best recommendations from public health officials.
b) DOORS. We’ll do our best to have volunteers in place to open the main doors to our spaces.
c) IN THE SERVICE. Feel free to smile, wave, or give an elbow pound instead of a handshake. We won’t encourage people to shake hands or hug during our greeting moment after worship. Please don’t be upset if someone doesn’t want to shake hands or hug.
d) STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS. Our staff and volunteers will be instructed to wash their hands regularly and to stay home if they are sick.
e) INCREASED CLEANLINESS. We always clean all of our spaces well, but we’ll be taking an extra measure of care, especially in our populated spaces.
f) PERSONAL HYGIENE. Regularly washing your hands and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze will go a long way toward protecting you and others.
Our mission is to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Nothing — no disease, no war, no fear — can stop the advance of the Gospel and the building of God’s Church. Let’s walk in faith, lean into the Scriptures, and continue to trust God for a speedy and safe resolution to this disease and its effects. If any part of our service plan changes, we’ll let you know!
Some material gleaned from various sources: CDC, Daily Voice, NBC NewYork