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:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30467300/

  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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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