Commonsense Coronavirus Preparations​​

Federal health officials urged Americans to begin preparing for the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Churches can play an important role in sharing accurate information and educating people about commonsense measures to slow the progress of the virus. Here are some resources to help clergy and lay leaders make decisions about how their congregations and community programs can respond to coronavirus:

 

Episcopal Relief & Development is posting current information and guidelines on its website. Find reliable information about the symptoms of the virus, how it spreads, and what you can do to prevent it on this page.

 

The best prevention measures include:

WEARING A MASK IS MANDATORY

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water, including after coughing, sneezing, handling diapers, preparing food or using the bathroom.

  • Not touching your face — especially your nose, eyes and mouth — unless you have just washed your hands immediately before that.

  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Staying home when you feel sick.

Bishop Shannon recommends that congregations consider these measures as ways to prepare for limiting the spread of the virus if it should come to Vermont:

 

  • When celebrating the Eucharist or distributing the elements, use hand sanitizer visibly and have hand sanitizer available for worshippers to use.

  • Avoid intinction (the dipping of the host or bread into the chalice).

  • If worshippers are concerned or are feeling unwell, remind them that the Eucharist is complete when it is received in only one kind—in this case, the bread.

  • Encourage worshippers to greet one another during the peace with waves, elbow bumps, bows, or peace signs rather than handshakes or hugs.

  • Encourage people who are ill to stay home and assure them that the congregation will pray for them.

  • Remind coffee hour volunteers to wash their hands and handle food with plastic gloves or utensils.

If the Vermont Department of Health reports coronavirus cases in our state, we anticipate taking the following actions:

 

  • Encouraging congregations to cancel in-person meetings and worship if their local school districts have closed due to coronavirus concerns.

  • Holding Sunday worship via online video.

  • Assisting congregations with ministries to hungry, unhoused and homebound people in working with their local health departments and emergency management officials to care safely for those they serve.

Bishop Shannon and her staff are monitoring the situation closely and will be in touch with clergy and lay leaders with additional recommendations if necessary. Email Canon Lynn Bates with questions or concerns.

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