POSSIBLE DISRUPTION #2: Diminished Attendance in Services
Even if you aren’t forced to shut down public meetings, people may not attend because they don’t feel safe. This may especially be true for the elderly who are more susceptible to the coronavirus. Small groups and other ministry gatherings may also see decreased attendance. In their absence, what will your church do to provide pastoral care, worship, and teaching for these people? How will you equip your church members to care for one another and to be the Light of Christ in your community?
Another factor to consider is that your congregation and community may experience isolation, quarantine, illness, and even death. What is your plan in each of these cases to provide pastoral care?
HOW YOUR CHURCH CAN PREPARE TO KEEP YOUR PEOPLE SAFE AT CHURCH
Certain traditions we’ve adopted in our churches could be adjusted to help prevent the spread of sickness. Consider these options for church traditions.
• Collections—No longer pass the offering bag or plate. Instead, have boxes at the back of your church building and emphasize online giving.
• Communion—Avoid hand contact and receive communion in the hand instead of the mouth. Do not have a shared cup. Servers can wear gloves/masks and refrain from serving if sick or around anyone who is sick. Consider individual servings of communion for the time being if you are a church that practices intinction (dipping the communion bread in the wine).
• Singing—Some churches have suspended singing since the virus is spread through respiratory droplets.
• Greetings—Rather than shake hands or hug, have people…
• pretend to high five
• tap feet in greeting
• elbow bump
WHAT WILL YOUR CHURCH DO TO CREATE A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT?
Use these CDC recommendations to assist with personal hygiene in your church building:
• Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene around your building where they are likely to be seen. CDC has workplace resources such as posters with messages for staff about staying home when sick and how to avoid spreading germs at work.
• Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by everyone.
• Instruct people to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60–95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
• Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs at entryways. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
PERFORM ROUTINE ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANING.
• Clean all frequently touched surfaces, such as countertops, doorknobs, light switches, and faucets. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
• No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
• Provide antibacterial disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down before each use.
Keep reading this Church Guide to Coronavirus to discover practical solutions for two more possible disruptions.