March 2, 2020 The coronavirus and the Christ Church family
Dear Christ Church family,
As fears of a world-wide COVID-19 (coronadvirus) pandemic increase so do questions about personal safety. Christ Church parishioners are asking questions about attending church (or any other large gathering of people.) There is so much we do not yet know, and it is important that we all pay close attention to trustworthy sources of information for updates on this crisis.
Here are some guidelines for us all to follow - at church, home, or at work - as concern grows about the possibility of further outbreaks in the US. Also, some answers to questions about the administration of the Holy Communion and the passing of the peace.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. All the time. All day long.
- At all times, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth – the places germs enter the body.
- When you cough, cough into your bent elbow, not into your hand. If you have to blow your nose, dispose of the tissue as soon as possible in a waste container with a lid that closes and either wash your hands immediately or use an alcohol-based liquid to sanitize your hands.
- Keep your distance. We don’t have to be in each other’s faces to talk. This is particularly important if someone is coughing or sneezing.
- If you’re sick, stay home! Encourage others to do the same if they’re sick. Don’t hesitate to go to the doctor and to urge others to do so.
- Alcohol-based liquid hand sanitizer will be available at various locations around the church and campus. Anyone distributing communion bread and wine will, as always, have washed their hands and/or used hand sanitizer.
- Intinction (dipping the host with your fingers) may be preferable to drinking from the common cup, but it is not necessarily more sanitary. You may choose to receive the bread and acknowledge the cup with a bow or cross your hands across your chest as it comes by. This is a good moment to remember a core principle of our Eucharistic theology: That the sacrament is complete when administered in just one kind (in this case, the consecrated bread).
- Maybe for now, at the peace, let's bow to one another, touch elbows or wave and extend “Peace be with you” to our neighbors. No handshakes or hugging.
- If you are unable to come to church for health reasons please know that there are Eucharistic visitors would be honored to bring the Sacrament to you at home or in the hospital. Please let the parish office know if you would like to receive a visit or know of someone who would.
Up-to-date information is a good antidote for anxiety. Remember to use common sense, don’t be anxious, get plenty of rest, and eat as healthily as you can. Visit the website of the World Health Organization for frequent updates. Go to the page below and click “Protect Yourself” to find downloadable materials as well as information about how to deal with anxiety over the disease: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Holy and gracious God, give us the strength to meet the health crisis looming around us. Enlighten researchers that they may discover the right vaccine against this disease. Guide the doctors, nurses and all medical technicians working with those who are infected to take correct actions for their care. Protect all medical staff and family or friends caring for those who are ill. Bring together the governments and governmental agencies around the world to work together to eradicate this health threat. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Michael Tinnon +
Interim Rector, Christ Episcopal Church