In this season, many churches are seeking information to help recognize, plan, adapt and respond to the current COVID-19 crisis. For this reason, it's our desire to provide ample information pertaining to why churches should respond to the global pandemic and a recommended approach on how to do so. In addition to becoming familiar with the resources provided on this site, it is advised to also follow instructions from the World Health Organization (WHO), public health officials and your respective government.
COVID-19, standing for coronavirus disease 2019, is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. It was classified by WHO as a pandemic on March 10, 2020, signifying a potential devastating impact on the whole world. It is highly contagious, and currently there is no vaccine or treatment. Most people (roughly 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. According to WHO, around one out of every six people who get COVID-19 become seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. The disease is most dangerous for elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, continuous cough and breathing difficulties; however, people may carry and spread COVID-19 without showing any symptoms.
According to WHO, COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Other individuals are then exposed when touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
1. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. In case water and soap are not available, use a hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol.
2. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze; dispose the used tissue immediately and wash your hands.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
4. Avoid physical contact, and when possible, stay home and away from crowds.
5. Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
6. Stay home, especially if you feel ill. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention according to the national health guidelines.
7. Use alternative ways of greeting that do not include physical contact.
8. Stay informed and follow advice given by your government, local officials and healthcare provider.
Churches should consider responding in four main ways:
1. Reduce the spread of COVID-19 at your church.
a. Make modifications to how worship and fellowship takes place.
b. Communicate correct and clear messages.
c. Provide and example of right living.
2. Care for church memebers.
a. Prepare church members for a time of isolation.
b. Prepare ways to stay in touch and provide care.
c. Address your church members spiritual or theological questions.
3. Mobilize church to care for communities.
4. Prayer and Intercession for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.