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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"He must become greater; I must become less." - John 3:30 We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant.

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PS: Also, it helps to get some Vitamin D especially if you live in the rainy Northwest Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

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Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

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The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
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