The emergence and spread of the novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19 as designated by the World Health Organization, has faith leaders considering appropriate response and responsibility. This developing situation reminds us of the interconnectedness of the world in which we live. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all connected as part of God’s good creation. People of faith respond to such developing situations with compassion and care first, rather than fear and panic, because of the courage that faith inspires.
TWO IMPORTANT TASKS...
As with any developing situation, some media reports can be more harmful than helpful, inspiring fear and anxiety, even outright panic. As people of faith, we are called to remember two important tasks in such situations:
1. We are called to respond first as Christians, as the church, the body of Christ. The first response is compassion and concern, undergirded by prayer and service. Our first impulse is courage, compassion, and faithfulness. Those principles, rather than fear and panic, guide our decisions and actions moving forward. Bias and racial profiling often accompany public crises, as they have in this case. Resist and renounce these temptations in your response to this crisis.
2. Because of our first response, we are also called to inform ourselves about the reality of the developing situation and about known best practices for dealing with the situation in a coherent and faithful way. We must draw on reliable resources for guidance in both preparing for and dealing with this developing situation.
We hope this information can support our faith communities as you discern faithfulness and wise actions in the weeks ahead; we will try out best to update this page as frequently as we deem helpful.
OTHER FAITH-BASED/COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Other Congregational Resources:
CARES Act information for churches:
- U.S. Department of Treasury - Full info, including downloadable loan application
Vanderbloemen: Details of CARES Act: The Financial Bridge that Churches, Schools & Nonprofits Need
- Inside Charity: How Nonprofits Will Receive CARES Act Funding – Part One
Thurs 4/2 /20 Free Webinar: Churches and the CARES Act: Helping Congregations and Employees Weather the Cash Crunch
Other Helpful General Guidelines:
- A Multi-Faith Clergy group on Facebook produced this document, giving suggestions and guidance for worship, technology, giving, and pastoral care.
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) provides a comprehensive guide for congregations
- CDC checklist for faith-based communities to prepare for a pandemic
- Also check your county website for information that impacts outreach activities
Empty Church Building Considerations:
- Take steps to prevent vandalism, theft, and maintenance issues during coronavirus restrictions
- Keep an Eye on Property Maintanance
WORSHIP RESOURCES FROM ABC/WI PERSONNEL
1. "Eager for Easter?" - Wisconsin Baptist Lead Article by Marie Onwubuariri
2. Hymn Medley: Pianist: Marie Onwubuariri
Holy, Holy, Holy; Great is Thy Faithfulness; It is Well With My Soul
3. Blest Be The Tie That Binds (Instrumental): Pianist: Marie Onwubuariri
To listen to the audio file you do need to log into Dropbox; you can listen from any browser window.
Lyrics can be found HERE if you would like to sing along (Note: Time Signature is 4/4)
4. A sermon and word of encouragement from Marie Onwubuariri Regional Exec. Minister, to the churches of ABC Wisconsin based on Ephesian 4:11-16. Click HERE.
5. Sample video devotion from Camp Tamarack - from Rev. Kim Drost
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT...
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25:35-36 NRSV
‘If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?’ James 2:15-16 NRSV
Listen to the scriptures and the tradition that speak our identity into existence. The scriptures remind us of who we are in times of crisis: those who respond. However and whatever the response, may we remember first and foremost who (and whose) we are.
Pray for those infected by the coronavirus in China and around the world.
Pray with gratitude for those who care for them.
Pray with gratitude for health specialists and authorities who are combatting the spread of infection.
Pray for government officials and leaders to have the wisdom necessary to make necessary and informed decisions out of care for the public good, particularly those most vulnerable.
Pray for all who at this time are feeling anxious.
BASIC HEALTH GUIDANCE
This guidance for all individuals of basic protective measures is drawn from the World Health Organization, and other widely available communications.
- Stay home if you are feeling sick.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice respiratory hygiene.
- Bleach, alcohol, Lysol and other basic disinfectants are good to use to clean doorknobs, handles, faucets and counter tops.
- Have a good supply of fluids, healthy food, decongestants, anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen for fevers.
- Have a first aid kit, flashlight, space blanket in your car.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Click HERE for a brief video from the CDC that provides a basic explanation for how the virus spreads as well as 6 steps you can take to lower your risk of getting sick.