First, Frame Expectations

While the news is alarming to us, the US has limited current exposure to this virus (only 59 infected to date) and the CDC provides regular updates on how best to respond. Clink this link for updates from the Centers for Disease Control.

  • Speak to your congregation about how people of faith pray and serve the world in a time of heightened anxiety.
  • Provide them with helpful information on how they may be protected from this infection and how to protect others if they develop symptoms.
  • Establish new habits during church gatherings that minimize the spread of covid19 and other serious diseases, including the flu.

Second: Know how Covid-19 is Spread

This virus is spread person to person among people within about 6 feet from one another via respiratory droplets distributed by coughing or sneezing. When the droplets land on surfaces, anyone may touch the surface and become infected by rubbing his or her face (mouth, nose, eyes) with their hands. The CDC has published very helpful posters for you to download and post in prominent places, so people are reminded to protect themselves and others. 



Recommendations for those gathered in church

  • Stop shaking hands at your gatherings (at the passing of the peace, at the Narthex door, on pastoral visitations, and fellowship events, etc.).

  • Ask your people who have been symptomatic in the previous 24 hours to refrain from gathering with others.

  • Ask everyone to sneeze or cough into the elbow of their sleeve. Ask them to then wash their hands; if soap and water are not available, to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Washing is always healthier.

  • At fellowship meals, ask people to wash their hands before taking food. If there is no soap and water, place alcohol-based hand sanitizer nearby and ask people to use it. Please also ensure that there are separate utensils for every dish that is set out.

  • Everyone in worship leadership (clergy, lay readers, acolytes, lectors, ushers, altar guild, etc.) should thoroughly wash their hands for more than 20 seconds in preparation for worship services, then also disinfect their hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer prior to the preparation of the altar and again following the distribution of Holy Communion and/or following the worship service. You can cleanse at the credence table with your back to the assembly to minimize distraction.

  • Withdraw the common cup during this season (viruses survive in the chalice) and ask everyone to intinct instead. Those distributing Holy Communion should be the only ones to dip the host into the cup; not the communicant.

  • Place tissues and hand sanitizer in visible places around the property you are using and ask people to regularly use what is provided, especially if they are symptomatic. Place cans in visible places and ask people to dispose of their tissues in them. The custodial people will need to be careful to clean them thoroughly. You may also provide masks for anyone to use who is symptomatic but ask those who are not to please not use them.

  • Add to your Prayers of the People prayers for protection, healing and deliverance from this and other infectious diseases.

    Please feel free to contact your Dean, me or our diocesan office (562.438.6756) if you have any questions about how to address this time of uncertainty. May God, our God give us hope in Jesus and make us hope bearers for His sake.

    Your brother