Brothers and Sisters,
With the first confirmed cases in Indiana, it’s important for all of us to take precautions against the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. I invite you to join me in responding to this situation in the following ways:
Pray for those that have fallen ill, for the families who have lost loved ones from this virus, for medical teams working to contain the outbreak. Pray for a cure.
Churches can do their part in preventing the spread of this virus. Consider the following ways:
Offer individual cups and wafers when serving sacraments.
Contemplate the use of gloves when preparing and distributing the Communion elements.
Refrain from handshakes or hugs during “Passing of the Peace.”
Make hand sanitizer available in common areas like lobbies, fellowship halls, and restrooms.
Sanitize doorknobs, stair rails, and children’s areas/toys.
Consider allowing staff persons to work from home if the virus becomes present in your community.
Because a local outbreak could have an impact on churches, leadership in the Indiana Conference should plan in advance for how they might respond. How will you communicate any service changes to your congregation? Plan to care for your congregation well by creating a system for wellness checks for older people in your congregation whom you haven’t seen for a while. To stay updated on the Coronavirus so you can plan accordingly, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
The United Methodist Church has responded to the virus by assisting China with a Global Health fund grant through UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). Give generously to Advance #3021770 at advance.umcor.org.
Also, please consider giving to assist in disaster recovery in Tennessee through UMCOR Advance #901670. Donations to both advances can be made online or via check mailed to: 458 Ponce De Leon Avenue, NE Atlanta, Georgia, 30308.
Though this situation is serious and demands attention, I encourage you to not fear. Pray, prevent, plan, and give, but also place your confidence and trust in our God, who is bigger than any outbreak or virus. As people of hope, we endure through prayer for our world and for a swift end to this and any other besetting illness in Jesus’ name.
Julius C. Trimble