Eugene Cho

our church’s response to the H1N1 – swine flu

communion at quest

I just sent out this note to our church email database in response to the growing concern of the H1N1 Virus (aka Swine Flu).  In addition to some cases in the larger country, there have now been seven new cases of what is likely the H1N1 virus.  Six of them involve children which explains why six schools are now closed.

With the impact of media and social media, news of the ‘Swine Flu’ is going literally viral.  While there clearly isn’t ONE response, we should not err on the extremes: Panic or Ignorance.

Leaders: No need to propagate fear and panic but don’t ignore the fact that some of your congregants are genuinely worried for themselves and their families. In Seattle (article above), six schools have temporarily closed their schools in response to the virus. There’s clearly no need to cancel church but we should take measures and precautions to reassure our congregants.  Remember: Pastoral Care.

Having said, our church staff made the following precautionary decisions that impact our church worship

since we take communion by intinction weekly (on rare occasions, a person or two literally drinks the wine directly from the Cup) and hold hands during the benediction.

Questions for you:

Is this affecting your city or town?  Are you concerned?  How is your church or organization responding – if at all?

Here’s my letter to our church community:

Dear Quest,

It is very rare for our church to send more than one email/week to our church community, but in light of the current situation with the H1N1 (aka Swine Flu) virus, not just globally, but also in Seattle, the Elder Board and Staff wanted to let you know that for the next several weeks (or until the situation settles down), we’ve made some precautionary decisions. Please note that our intent isn’t to propagate fear but rather, practice discerning precaution.  There will be two notable changes to our Sunday worship service:

Communion.  Communion will obviously continue to be served. However, the bread will be pre-sliced into personal sizes. It should be obvious, but please take one small piece of bread for communion and dip into the Cup. While we want to be sensitive to people’s traditions, please DO NOT drink directly from the cup.

Benediction. During the benediction, we will not hold hands, but of course continue the spirit of the benediction by receiving and sharing the benediction song.

Our children’s ministry will also be taking its regular precautions as well and parents and teachers should expect to receive another email from Katey, our children’s ministry director.

We have had some amazing moments as a community these past few weeks. In addition to a glorious Easter celebration and meal couple weeks ago, we witnessed parents and families bringing their children before the community and God for dedications and baptisms. We also saw three people publicly confess their devotion to Jesus through baptism as well. Thanks for your continual partnership in ministry!

See you on Sunday.

Pastor Eugene

Filed under: church, ministry, quest church, religion, seattle, , ,

8 Responses

  1. Jan Owen says:

    We have three cases here (in a smaller town) and we’ve been wondering what to do as well. thanks for sharing. we’re still thinking!

  2. […] desproporcional e quem pode estar se beneficiando de tudo isso, tem outro post do Eugene Cho”our church’s response to the H1N1 – swine flu” que publicou as providências que ele está tomando em sua igreja, depois de ver 6 escolas […]

  3. […] desproporcional e quem pode estar se beneficiando de tudo isso, tem outro post do Eugene Cho”our church’s response to the H1N1 – swine flu” que publicou as providências que ele está tomando em sua igreja, depois de ver 6 escolas […]

  4. Sarah H says:

    Like the picture!

  5. gar says:

    The cynic in me says that swine flu is the new SARS or bird flu – all hype, few fatalities, and an entire ethnic group gets scapegoated as “carriers”, only this time, it’s Hispanics instead of Asians.

    In my school district, a mass mailing went out to families about one of our elementary schools being closed down with swine flu and for families to take precautions. The recommended number of days for closure is SEVEN days, so I’m crossing my fingers it doesn’t happen to my school. Not only do I not want any of my kids sick, I don’t want to be making up an extra seven days of school… >_<

  6. eugenecho says:

    @gar: good thoughts.

    did you read this article:

  7. gar says:

    eugene>great article! i actually haven’t peeped it yet.

    michelle malkin is a disgrace.

  8. DrChris says:

    7000 people died from medication errors, while 106,000 died from NON-ERROR, adverse effects of medications. Thus far there have been 26 deaths worldwide from the ‘swine-flu.’ Meanwhile more people have died from “the flu” (just the plain old one, without any exotic flare…). Don’t fall into the fears. Focus on your health and wellbeing, not on media hype and the fear storm. Oh, and by the way – avoid Tamiflu…

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One Day’s Wages

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The Western Wall in Old City of Jerusalem (aka The Wailing Wall) - from the Second Jewish Temple.

I'm hoping to share a few stories of people that I met (Jewish, Muslims, and Christians) in the Holy Land in the days to come. One of our Palestinian tour guides said to me, "You will leave with more questions...and that's a good thing." He was absolutely right. We want everything so nicely packaged but if we're honest, it's very rare in a broken, complex world...and I can't think of too many things more complex than the situation in Israel and Palestine.

While I certainly understand and resonate with Israel and its history and its need to protect itself from harm, one can't deny the history and existence of Palestine as well. 
Is peace possible? This was the focus of my trip to the Holy learn more about the conflict and those that are working towards peace. My friend, Scott (and other pastor), Mae (our guide) and I had the privilege of going to a Jewish synagogue this past Friday. We were then hosted by a local rabbi and his family for a Shabbat meal. It was marvelous. Incredible. Illuminating. Delicious. A true honor to be invited to his home with his wife and three children. To pray, learn, share, and ask questions. 
What I loved the most was the story of how Rabbi Daniel and his wife rented a bus to take 15 of their friends to the West Bank ... to see for themselves the impact of the wall and the Israeli policies. Some of their friends had never even entered the West Bank...don't personally know a Palestinian. It's impossible to work towards peace when we don't know anyone from the other side...when we don't understand the other side.

Thank you, Rabbi Daniel. Old Jerusalem. So many stories. So much history. The synagogue in Capernaum (Galilee) where Jesus began his public ministry. He taught with authority... Pray for your pastors and teachers...that they may teach with courage, conviction, humility, and ultimately, directing people to Christ - the Word made flesh.

Speaking of, so excited to be teaching at @Quest Church tomorrow. If you're in the Seattle area, join us. A glimpse of Jordan River where John baptized Jesus. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." What amazes me most about this event is about...timing and patience. For Christ, it wasn't about "if" but about "when." In a world of supersonic pace,  impatience, quick results, hurry and now and NOW...Jesus waited for the Father's timing. He was patient and faithful. I need to learn that waiting on the Lord in itself isn't apathy but rather an act of faith. The town of Bethlehem and at the site of the cave (aka manger) of the birth of Christ.

One of the highlights was a class of Palestinian Muslims and Christian kids in a local public school singing a Christmas carol for us in Bethlehem...just across the Shepherd's Field. Galilee. Surreal to be at the mountainside where Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount" ... aka The Beatitudes. Walking around praying for Paris, Beirut, Istanbul, Nigeria, Mali, Palestine/Israel... This verse is so particularly important in light of all the violence in the world. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." - Matthew 5:9

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