We have all been consumed by the rapid spread of the Coronavirus and its growing implications for our daily lives. We cannot downplay the importance of being prepared and not reacting with panic or fear.
As a spiritual body, we need to remember that fear turns people toward sin. Anytime we scapegoat a certain people (e.g. Asians where the virus seemed to originate), we are guilty of practicing such sin. Our response to victims should not be ostracizing and shunning them, but it should be to have compassion and care for them.
As the California-Pacific Conference, we are looking into a number of different scenarios as well as our options in response. Personally, I believe we should follow the old adage: “Expect the best, prepare for the worse.” Part of our preparation has been talking with our own Disaster Response Team, one of the best in the nation. We hope to provide timely updates as this is a developing situation. What I wanted to share with you today are some resources that have been a part of our discussions.
In terms of guidance from medical professionals, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has produced a number of helpful documents here that you may want to go over with your church.
As we have been checking with our sister denominations, we found an excellent Emergency Plan from the United Church of Canada as well as a Pandemic Preparedness Guide from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that we are studying.
For now, please consider following the advice in general being given by our own American medical authorities:
- Seek immediate medical intervention if you develop flu like symptoms
- Stay home if you are not feeling well, and especially if you are coughing
- Wash your hands on a regular basis and use hand sanitizers as an alternative
- Sanitize those areas with which you have a lot of contact
Most importantly as people of faith, let us pray for those who have contracted the virus and for our world wide population that the virus will be contained. Let us turn to our God in faith and let us not succumb to our fears and anxieties.
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church