Concerning COVID-19

“In this time when we are all affected by the coronavirus, whether directly or indirectly, whether physically, biologically, psychologically, spiritually, and for many economically, it may be helpful to remember that we're in this together.

Jesus came among us in the first place, to show us the way to be right and reconcile with the God who is the creator of us all, and right and reconciled with each other as children of this one God who has created us all, and therefore as sisters, brothers, and siblings, one of another. 

Jesus came to show us how to be in a relationship with God and in relationship with each other, came to show us how to live not simply as collections of individual self-interest, but how to live as the human family of God. That's why he said love the Lord your God, love your neighbor as yourself. Because in that is hope for all of us to be the human family of God.

So look out for your neighbors, look out for each other. Look out for yourselves. Listen to those who have knowledge that can help to guide us medically and help to guide us socially. Do everything that we can to do this together, to respond to each other's needs and to respond to our own needs.” ~ Bishop Curry

Bishop Curry's full statement is available here.

An invitation for you, from Presiding Bishop Curry: Habits of Grace

As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing social distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new meditation will be posted on Mondays through May.

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Faith-Based Response to Epidemics from Episcopal Relief & Development
An epidemic is a large-scale outbreak of an infectious disease, such as influenza or coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

ROLE OF CHURCHES, DIOCESES AND COMPASSIONATE CHRISTIANS

  • Combat fear with knowledge in order to encourage preparedness and decrease stigma.
  • Maintain operational continuity and continue worship life in the case of potential quarantine and disruption.
  • Show God’s compassion and care to those in our communities who are affected.

These are general guidelines; decisions should be made in collaboration with Church leadership and health authorities, based on local practices and safety concerns.

GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR CHURCHES AND DIOCESES: 

  • Connect with local public health authorities to learn about the level of risk in your area and what restrictions are in place
  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use. 
  • Say a prayer during service for people who are ill and mail prayer cards to their homes.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning in the sanctuary, kitchen hall and other spaces where people gather.
  • Bolster outreach ministries to prepare to help low-income hourly workers who call out of work. Encourage those who may consider going to work for the sake of income to stay home because you can offer assistance.
  • Remind people to cover mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, wash hands after coughing, sneezing, handling diapers, preparing food or using the bathroom and to stay home if feeling ill.
  • Be in conversation with your diocese about worship guidance and the financial impact of closing church
  • Update your congregation’s directory to ensure that you have updated contact information for your members. 

SAFE MEASURES AND EQUITY FOR CHURCH WORKERS:

  • Sick leave policies should be flexible, non-punitive and consistent with public health guidance. and Employees should be made aware of the policies, realizing that employees may need to take time off for themselves or to care for loved ones in their household.
  • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work–healthcare provider offices are extremely busy and may recommend that people only come in if absolutely necessary.
  • Provide disposable wipes for employees to clean off surfaces like laptops and desks.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning in the office.

CONTACT:
Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer