M E M O R A N D U M
TO: ALL RTO PASTORS, WIVES, AND TREASURERS
FROM: TONY P. LANE, ADMINISTRATIVE BISHOP
RE: COVID-19 UPDATE NUMBER 2
We are living in very challenging times. People are being consumed with fear and panic. This can be one of the finest hours for the church. We have the opportunity to minister and rach people as never before. I ecnourage you to spend time this weekend in your services praying agains the Corona Virus, asking God for protection from it. Also pray that God will grant you and your church the opportunity to be a lighthouse of hope to your community. Seek ways to shine hope to people that are living in fear.
It seems that continued update information is being provided and released daily and in some instances hourly. I want to encourage you that our trust and confidence is in God. We must choose faith over fear and as a church stand as a testimony of our confidence in a God who cares and protects.
It is my understanding that some states are now making decisions with reference to assembly and gathering of groups. Some counties in California have mandated that no gatherings larger than groups of 100 are to come together. Some governors are mandating that there be no large group gatherings.The media is provoking panic on the part of many people in our country. Stores are selling out of simple things, such as toilet paper. People are fearful and are living in concern for their lives. As God’s people we must do all we can to remind people of the fact that God is still in control and we can trust Him.
THREE-PRONGED PLAN OF ACTION
This is three-pronged plan of action I am recommending at this time for the churches in our region:
Here are four practical things you can encourage your church to do to prevent the spread of viruses:
a. Stay home if you have a fever: If you or anyone in your household is sick, with high temperatures in particular, encourage them to stay home until they fully recover. When possible, direct them to livestream or online recordings of the worship experience.
b. Cover up: Cover your mouth/nostrils when coughing or sneezing by doing so into a tissue or your bent elbow.
c. Clean frequently: Get your church ready by having plenty of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes on hand. Instruct staff and volunteers to wipe off surfaces such as chairs, door handles and light switches before and after service. You may even want to have someone standing at doors to open the doors of the church.
d. Wash often: Encourage your members to use warm water with soap while washing hands for at least 30 seconds. If water isn’t available, encourage them to use hand sanitizer.
2. PLAN AHEAD
Several cities and counties have already placed a moratorium on public gatherings of 100 or more people, which could impact Sunday worship services.
We encourage each church to prepare contingency plans if your local area places a temporary ban on public meetings. Options include online worship services that can be viewed from home, or multiple services with capacity limits to remain in compliance with local ordinances. Additionally, consider establishing an online giving tool immediately.
As always, be diligent in keeping apprised of the news in your local area and respond accordingly. When in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
We encourage each church to create a prayer team with the sole focus of praying for protection from this virus, and healing for those already infected.
You may want to have an online worship service or prayer service through the week, to encourage and inspire and comfort people. People are deep in their feelings right now. Talk about comfort, fear, provision, anxiety, wisdom, the things they are desperate for in this season. Encourage them regularly by simply recording a video on your iphone and making it available.
Remind your congregants that they can give online as well so your church budget doesn’t suffer.
I will stay in touch to keep you aware of any further decisions or adjustments and, as always, want to thank you for your continued partnership in ministry. In times like this, I am especially grateful for your faith and strength as we minister together to our churches and community. I am praying for you, that God empower you to impact our world for Christ!
I would like to know should someone in your congregation encounter the virus and be impacted by it firsthand. With so many of our members operating adult care homes, I am confident that his is great concern to them, as they serve some of the most vulnerable people. Know that I am praying for you. Please let me know if there is a way I can serve you.
Philippians 4 reminds us to think on things that are pure, honest, and of a good report. Let’s choose to do that as the shepherds of our congregations. Let’s do all we can to spread hope and peace in the midst of turbulent times.
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus!
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