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:
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.