Caring for Our Neighbours at Faith Lutheran Church and beyond with regard to COVID-19

The following note was distributed to our members at Faith on Friday, March 13, 2020. We publish it here for those not in worship on Sunday, March 15, 2020

Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Members of Faith,

Sometimes it seems like nothing new happens in our lives for weeks on end. Sometimes it seems like our lives are spinning out of control with rapid change. That is what we experienced this past week.

As leaders in public office across North America studied the patterns of corona virus (COVID-19) spread across the world, they took decisive action this week to slow down the community spread of this disease. These actions are vital to our well-being and there is urgency in their implementation as delay of days and weeks may put many thousands of lives at risk.

Many of the public-protection polices and practices that that are being rapidly implemented across the world are based upon a principle called “social distancing”. Corona viruses spread from an infected person through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing, close personal contact such as touch, touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands. To reduce risk of virus spreading we are being asked to avoid bringing large groups of people together in close proximity and to practice rigorous hand hygiene.

Church leaders across Canada are engaged in active dialogue about possible changes in our worship and meeting practices that may reduce risk of spreading the COVIS-19 virus in our communities. The Roman Catholic congregations in Saskatoon decided this week to temporarily suspend the distribution of Communion wine via a common cup. Congregations are also considering how they might foster “social distancing” of participants at worship services.

We can begin to practice some social distancing by distributing ourselves more evenly throughout the full seating capacity of our sanctuary.  When we next offer Holy Communion on March 22nd, we would be wise to offer the wine only through individual cups. There may be some other changes that we will need to consider.

We do not want to forgo the benefits of coming together to hear God’s Word, receive Holy Communion and enjoy Christian fellowship. We should not be overwhelmed with fear. But we do need be mindful of our responsibility to play a role in reducing risk of preventable harm to our members and our neighbours.

In Italy at this moment churches are prohibited from holding wedding or funeral services. The entire country is in lock down. As of March 13th, 17,660 people were confirmed as being infected and 1,266 deaths have occurred. This tragic situation is attributable to delay in implementing social distancing policies. We need to learn from this tragedy. 

In Christ,

Dennis Kendel – Faith Board Chair