Members and friends of IPC,
Greetings. I hope this finds you well. With the rising concern over the coronavirus, we thought it would be important to reach out to you with communication from your church, both with information and encouragement.
First, some information. We want to assure you that we are taking every step to protect the health of our church. Here are some of the ways we are doing this:
- Our facilities are receiving extra cleaning attention with repeated sanitizing of surfaces while we continue to maintain standards of cleanliness and sanitizing. We are continuing to look at what additional care we can provide.
- We encourage everyone to monitor your own health and to refrain from church activities if you have symptoms of illness. Also, remember that your personal care and hygiene not only impacts you but also your church community. Please be vigilant as a way to love your neighbors, particularly the elderly among us.
- All church activities are open to the possibility of cancellation except Sunday services. Because of the high concentration of the elderly at PRIMES events, we have cancelled the luncheon scheduled for this Saturday, March 14. However, even if we were in the midst of an epidemic (which we have no reason to believe is upon us yet), we would still have Sunday worship. In fact, it is in the hour of hardship that people most need the comfort and stability that churches provide. That being said, we do not want to bind anyone’s conscience if they feel they cannot attend.
To our seniors and those with underlying health conditions: if it comes to the point where you feel uncomfortable attending worship, you may participate by watching the service online.
Second, some encouragement. A colleague in the ministry has extended this wise word to his congregation which we pass on to you:
Thoughtful precautions are good and helpful, but panic and fear are not. We serve a risen and reigning Savior who is completely in control, and that should be evident in the way we respond to a cultural crisis. It was our Christian brothers and sisters in China who led the way during the initial outbreak of this virus. They testified to the surety of their hope by loving, serving, and above all, not despairing. Confidence in the face of panic always has been a mark of God’s people, and let it be true of us. Besides, as our Lord himself reminds us, our fear accomplishes nothing. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to their life?”
Another minister, also a medical doctor, has added this:
If you are over 65, have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung issues: Be prudent, wash your hands regularly, elbow bump religiously, avoid mass gatherings, and keep your distance (6 ft.) from people, especially those who are sick. Avoid gyms also and strenuous workouts (they lower your immune response significantly for at least a couple of hours). Take a nice long walk at noon (sunlight is your friend). Oh, and get plenty of sleep.
Let us pray for all those impacted and for the sustained health of our Savannah community, but as we pray, let us do so with confidence that God is sovereign and at work.
Summary of Everyday Preventive Actions
(recommended by the Center for Disease Control [CDC])
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are at a higher risk, stay out of crowds, stay home as much as possible.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.