With the recent classification of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, we wanted to make you aware that we are aware, prayerful, and seeking to make responsible decisions as a church family regarding our preparedness, care, and ministry during these days of never-ending news and commentary about the outbreak.
We are deeply appreciative of McLean Bible Church’s thoughtful and helpful articulation to their own church family, and we couldn’t write it better ourselves. We have adjusted the text of their post for our own context:
UPDATE: CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Amidst concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to let you know how Northstar is responding.
Our leadership is monitoring the situation. We are relying on community and denominational resources (The SBCV has an excellent page providing guidance for churches here.) We are committed to doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for our church family and surrounding community.
IS NORTHSTAR CONTINUING TO GATHER FOR WORSHIP?
Yes. We will continue to meet for worship at our regular schedules. If at any point this changes, we will update this page and our main page and social media accounts immediately and share any plans we have for gathering online. However, at this time, all Sunday gatherings are continuing as usual.
IS THE NORTHSTAR PULASKI OFFICE OPEN?
Yes. At this time, we are open as usual.
SHOULD PEOPLE COME TO NORTHSTAR IF THEY ARE FEELING SICK?
While we place a high priority on gathering together as the church for worship and other activities, and we always want you to feel welcome at Northstar, if you are feeling sick or running a fever, the best way that you can love your neighbor is by staying home!
WHAT PRECAUTIONS CAN PEOPLE TAKE WHEN YOU ARRIVE?
We encourage everyone to take certain steps to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, flu, and other illnesses, including:
- Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Using hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available
- Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Staying home if you are sick
- Covering your cough or sneeze
- Disinfecting objects and surfaces regularly
WHAT ABOUT YOUTH EVENTS AND SHORT-TERM MISSION TRIPS?
We are monitoring recommendations from the International Mission Board related to any short-term trips we may plan.
HOW CAN I BETTER UNDERSTAND THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness — an infection of the airways and lungs. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. It is part of the same family of coronaviruses that includes the common cold. The coronavirus outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread to other countries.
The most common early symptoms appear between 2 and 14 days after infection. Symptoms can be mild to severe. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
Like many other viruses, the coronavirus (COVID-19) seems to spread from person-to-person through a cough, sneeze, or kiss. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the risk in the U.S. is still low. They will update this status regularly on their website at cdc.gov/coronavirus. You can also find more information from the World Health Organization.
HOW SHOULD I RESPOND SPIRITUALLY TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is yet one more reminder that we live in a fallen world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. Ultimately, none of us are immune to any of these things. But that’s why the gospel is such good news. God has not left us alone in this world of sickness, sin, suffering, and death. He has come to us in the person of Jesus. The greatest news in all the world is that Jesus lived a life with no sin, died on a cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose from the grave in victory over sin and death. Now anyone anywhere who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus will be forgiven of all their sin and restored to relationship with God forever. That means that through Jesus, we never have to fear sickness or death because we know we have eternal life with God.
If you do not know that you have eternal life with God, we urge you to put your faith in Jesus. And if you do know that you have eternal life with God, we urge you to share your faith in Jesus with others. Times like these remind us all of the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. So let’s spread the greatest news that death has been defeated and eternal life is available to all who trust in Jesus.
In addition to trusting in Jesus and sharing about Jesus with others, here’s some other ways you can respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Trust in God as the good and sovereign Creator and Sustainer of life upon whom we all depend.
- Pray for mercy for the sick, strength for doctors, insight for researchers, and wisdom for officials.
- Look for opportunities to love and care for others, whether they are sick, isolated, marginalized, poor, or oppressed.
- If our physical gatherings become postponed for a time, stay closely connected to the church family. Gather with smaller groups as appropriate, and participate in worship gatherings online should that become necessary.
- Continue to faithfully give your offering online HERE or by mail so that the ministry of the church thrives all the more in the midst of difficult days.
Reflect often on the brevity of life, the urgency of eternity, and the beauty of the gospel.