Dear friends in Christ:
We are slowly beginning to realize that we are experiencing something unlike anything we have seen in recent years. The spread of the novel Coronavirus, now labeled as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, has caused many to reevaluate our thoughts and actions. A week ago, I was thinking that we just needed to wash our hands and avoid panic. Today, I believe we need a much stronger response. It is likely that information will continue to change in the coming days and weeks, and I encourage all of us to stay informed as best we can. The Center for Disease Control is a helpful and reliable source of information, and this article on faith-based community organizations contains some good overall guidance.
In general, I would remind us that our central call in scripture is to love our neighbors. In light of this growing epidemic:
While I agree that now is not a time for panic, I encourage our congregations and leaders to engage in clear, thoughtful, and proactive responses that protect those most vulnerable among us and promote the well-being of all.
Bishop Paul D. Erickson