12 Mar Calvary, Coronavirus, and Best Practices
News about Covid-19, also known as Coronavirus, is everywhere, and it is changing rapidly. Now declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, it is clear that virtually all communities will be impacted by this virus. Preparation, patience, and diligence are key as we confront this health crisis. I want to be clear about what Calvary is doing in light of this developing story.
First, we are remaining informed. National Capital Presbytery is closely monitoring Covid-19 updates and is posting new information as it becomes available. In addition, we are receiving updates from state and local governments as well as following directives from the Center for Disease Control.
Second, we are implementing recommended “best practices.” We are frequently disinfecting door handles and knobs, as we did prior to worship last Sunday, and wiping down common spaces—bathrooms, kitchen, children’s rooms, etc. We need your continued help and diligence with this. PLEASE wash your hands frequently and use the hand sanitizer available at the back of the sanctuary. Tissue boxes are liberally spread throughout the sanctuary, as well.
Third, beginning Sunday we will practice the recommended “social distancing” of three feet and will NOT touch or hug during the Passing of the Peace.
Fourth, if you feel ill or you already are at increased risk, please stay home. The sermon and the bulletin will be posted online.
Fifth, as you are no doubt aware, the Episcopal church has canceled worship in the churches of the Greater Washington diocese for the next two weeks. Unlike our Methodist, Lutheran, and Episcopal brothers and sisters, Presbyterians do not have bishops with the authority to make decisions for all churches under their jurisdiction. For each of the 104 congregations in our presbytery, the Session is tasked with discerning the appropriate course of action for its particular church. Calvary’s Session is a dedicated, wise, caring group of men and women who take the health and welfare of our members seriously. We will continue to diligently monitor this situation and will respond accordingly.
Finally, as I mentioned in last week’s blog, let us practice “loving our neighbors” by refusing to hoard and by remaining calm, faithful and caring of all people during this time of heightened insecurity. I urge you to choose peace over fear. This virus is serious and cause for concern for those who are in at-risk populations, especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems due to other illnesses. It is important for us to do all we can to support our health care professionals, first responders, and others who are at greatest risk of exposure as they treat and care for us. However, let us not forget that we are richly blessed. My thoughts have been turning increasingly to those areas of our world where the impact of a pandemic could be astronomically higher than anything those of us in the industrialized countries of the world will face: refugee camps, densely populated slums, war zones, and third-world citizens whose access to clean water and nutritional food is a daily challenge, let alone getting medical care. We have reason to use common sense and caution, absolutely. But no reason to panic. Let us not forget the millions of people who are not so fortunate.
Yours for the Kingdom,