Here are links to the articles. I pray they will be helpful.
Delaware County COVID-19 Testing Sites:
Chester County COVID-19 Testing Sites:
###Serving as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ in the public square since 1950, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) brings together 38 member communions and more than 40 million Christians in a common commitment to God’s love and promise of unity.
|God has placed sources of joy all around us|
|No, this is not the laptop I'm talking about.|
|Meet my "zombie tree." A different plan was required.|
|Looks more like a tree to me.|
|Two finished trees with another on the way.|
I have compiled and listed below recommendations for congregations to follow as we live through the challenges that we face given the outbreak of coronavirus.First:The PBA Ministers Council gathered this week and discussed the challenges and shared helpful recommendations for congregations as we face in this public health emergency. Please click on the link to review their recommendations and share your thoughts by filling out the survey https://form.jotform.com/200715356940150Further, the Ministers Council plans to develop webinars and an online community that helps us to coordinate our efforts in serving and protecting church members.Second:I have gathered and compiled some of the recommendations from Regions across ABCUA. The PBA does recommend our churches consider the suggestions below:WORSHIPChurches face decisions now and in the future about cancelling worship services. We have been advised to avoid gatherings over 250 people (now the number is down to 50); our larger churches will have a more difficult decision. In your sanctuary, spread out! Create some distance between personsIf possible foregoing print bulletins, and replacing them with electronic or projected versions, is advisable. If this is not feasible, make sure greeters are wearing gloves as they pass out bulletins, and have worshippers sanitize their hands as they enter the sanctuary.Consider live streaming or podcasting your services for those who elect not to attend, and to prepare for the possible cancellation of live worship in the future.MUSICIt is not known at present how long COVID-19 is able to remain viable on surfaces. Projecting lyrics is a good way to prevent the spread of the virus. Remember to disinfect the keyboards, remotes/mouse and desks. If this is not feasible a printed song sheet may be a better option, and if this will not work then encouraging hand washing and sanitizing after worship is recommended (which should be a standard practice).OFFERINGPlates or baskets should be placed in a location where the people may leave their offering. Plates should be handled by gloved ushers and not passed by the congregation. While there are costs, encouraging online giving would also help protect those who handle the offering after it is taken.PRAYER TIMEIf your church passes a microphone around at prayer time, have the person holding the microphone in the front listen to each request and then repeat it for the congregation.HANDSHAKINGFollowing CDC guidelines, handshaking should be avoided. As we greet one another or Pass the Peace, we should do so without physical touch of any kind. A gentle bow or a nod can be substituted.People could be taught to sign “I love you” or place their right hand over their heart and then turn it outward to their neighbors—the latter is considered by many to be a sign of peace. A friendly nod and smile is also a good alternative.COMMUNIONPassing plates and cups is inadvisable at this time, as too many hands end up touching the elements and the potential for spreading the virus is increased. Churches may want to consider inviting congregants up front for communion, keeping a least three feet between members, and have gloved servers hand worshippers the elements. You may also consider using pre-filled communion sets.OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:Who should forego worship gatherings: Persons who feel, or within the past two weeks, have felt unwell or run a fever should be discouraged from attending church services or events, both for their own protection and the protection of others. If anyone in a household is unwell, everyone in the household should remain at home.In particular, the following persons who are at particular risk from COVID -19 should take extra precautions: persons age 60 or over, anyone with a respiratory condition such as asthma or emphysema, anyone with an autoimmune disorder, anyone who is undergoing or has recently received chemotherapy, and smokers.Cleaning: Make sure to wipe every surface that is often touched with disinfectant: doorknobs, handrails, the tops of pews.Food service: Food served at coffee hour, feeding programs or other gatherings should be in individual servings. If food is not in individual servings, a person wearing a new pair of food service gloves should be assigned to pre-plate and serve the food. Serving utensils should be handled only by the person preparing and serving the food.Virtual meetings are encouraged where possible. Church or program staff may be encouraged to work from home, provided their physical presence is not required. Some free or low-cost online meeting platforms include: Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Cisco Webex Meetings, and Microsoft Teams.Pastoral Care: Please be aware that pastors may need to reduce or eliminate their physical presence in hospitals and nursing homes. Many facilities are already limiting such visits. We have had our first case of a US pastor contracting this illness. Pastors do not want to become unintentional carriers by entering high-risk areas; in addition, many pastors have family members in high-risk groups, or are themselves at high risk. Prayer by phone or video can indeed be Spirit-filled.The Rev. Dr. James E. McJunkinRegional Executive Pastor
Dear American Baptist Family:
I join you in our common concerns regarding the effects of COVID-19, which is being referred to as the coronavirus.
We continue to be in prayer for the recovery of those who are ill, the medical teams caring for the sick and, for those who are working to contain and combat the virus.
While much uncertainty still exists regarding the virus, here are a few quotes posted on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website:
- COVID-19 was first detected in China and has now been detected in almost 90 locations internationally, and 35 states within the U.S. COVID-19 is part of a family of Coronaviruses.
- Reported illnesses from the virus have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. Information collected so far suggests that most COVID-19 related illnesses are mild.
- Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
- Symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath have surfaced 2-14 days after exposure. Persons are most contagious when they are most symptomatic.
In addition to seeking to curb the spread of illnesses, another reason to try to contain the disease is so that local health agencies will not be overwhelmed by many persons contracting the disease at the same time in the same area. To help contain the disease, please continue to practice everyday preventive behaviors as listed below:
- Persons with the illness have contracted it through travel and through close contact with known cases. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze.
- Routinely clean frequently touched objects.
- Maintain at least 3 feet between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
- Avoid shaking hands and encourage the congregation to greet one another with a smile and a hand over their hearts as a symbol of Christian love.
For several years, American Baptists have been learning and practicing how to have respectful dialogue with one another through our “Mission Summit Conversations” and “Baptist Talk.” We have learned how to listen well, how to seek to understand before responding, and how to show respect in our conversations. We have learned that “how” something is said is as important as “what” is said.
- Have hand sanitizer available for communion servers to use prior to distributing the elements. You may want to consider using individual cups and pieces of bread rather than a common cup and loaf of bread.
Let us lead the way as we discuss our concerns about this illness and other matters with our friends, family, and neighbors. May we express concern without panic, calmness in our questions, and kindness in our conversations. Now is not the time for blame or condemnation. Rather, now is the time for care, compassion, and empathy. Every crisis is an opportunity to share God’s love and compassion with others.Additional information can be found at the following website as well as your state health department websites.
CDC LINK: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fpreparing-individuals-communities.html
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Dr. C. Jeff WoodsActing General Secretary