“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
~Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
We’re all aware of the evolving situation with COVID-19 around the world. And, we’re aware that our response as a church is likely on your mind. While in North Dakota, the risk remains low, we wanted to make sure we are communicating.
HERE’S WHAT WE’RE DOING AS A CHURCH STAFF
- TRUSTING GOD: Viral disease is a fact of biological existence and part of creation. Keeping perspective and not panicking apply here, just as they do for all risks we face as creatures in a finite world. No matter how dire circumstances get, the Lord remains our refuge and strength, “an ever-present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). To trust in the Lord amid trouble is to experience and bear witness to the power of Christ. <br>
- PRAYING: We must pray for the sick and the scared, for public health officials, for doctors and nurses, for researchers, and for caregivers. As Christians, we believe prayer has power, so we seek help from the Lord.
- STAYING INFORMED: The media is aflame with daily updates and it’s impossible to read, absorb and respond to every news report, Tweet, or latest rumor. We’re following a reliable list of information for educational, planning and management purposes.
- CDC on COVID-19: The US Center for Disease Control’s up-to-date resources on coronavirus.
- CDC Resources for Community and Faith-Based Organizations: The CDC has also created resources specifically for faith-based organizations to respond to an influenza pandemic, which are applicable in this situation. As a church, we’re implementing this guidance.
- Managing Anxiety Around Coronavirus Coverage: The American Psychological Association created this resource to help manage anxiety around coverage of COVID-19.
- Addressing Mental Health Issues: This resource from the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Network provides guidelines for addressing mental health issues that may arise, and offers advice for messaging, including among children, older adults, people with disabilities, and those in quarantine.
4. PREPARING: Because COVID-19 likely spreads like the cold and the flu, personal hygiene is very important among staff, volunteers, and participants in our services and those attending events on our campuses (washing hands, avoiding contact with the sick, staying home if you’re sick, and so on). We are implementing the CDC recommendation for hand sanitizer stations in public places, ample supplies of tissue, and disposable gloves for cleaning crews. We’re also implementing CDC recommendations on our routine cleaning practices to include all frequently touched surfaces in workplaces, restrooms, and nurseries, including workstations, countertops, doorknobs, and toys. In addition to these practical steps, we’re also doing the following:
- We’re reviewing all of our communication practices with the congregation and implementing appropriate communication when appropriate – like this webpage.
- We’re adjusting our greeting practices in our weekend services and encouraging everyone to “Nod or Smile at your Neighbor” as a preferred greeting over a handshake or other common physical greetings.
- We do have people in our congregation that this would affect severely. So, if you or any of your family members are experiencing any symptoms, please make sure to stay home and join us on our live feed. You can join us for our live feed at http://live.newsongbismarck.com/
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
- Pray for our community and those directly affected by COVID-19. Pray for the health care workers that are treating the sick and those public health administrators making difficult decisions. Pray that God would protect our community from further spread of the virus. If you would like prayer, please fill out our Prayer Request form.
- Reflect Christ. In these anxious days, the church (all of us) can shine as a light of hope, care, faith, patience, and prudence. We can demonstrate for the world how our faith provides true assurance against worry and fear.
- Practice recommended personal hygiene. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid contact with the sick. Stay home if you’re sick and enjoy our online service at http://live.newsongbismarck.com/
- Keep informed by checking recommended resources for accurate information. We recommend:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body. . . . Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
~Matthew 6:25–27 (NIV)
Used from Highland Park Community Church, Casper, WY and Adapted for use by New Song Church