Explanation, Engagement & Exemplary Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak
A. Preamble (Background): According to the Ministry of Health’s Advisory for Large-Scale Events:
- Government is advising event Organizers to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events
- For those proceeding with these events, MOH advises that the necessary precautions should be taken. Besides temperature screening and travel declarations, measures include maintaining a registration list of participants if practical, ensuring that all event venues are ventilated and are adequately equipped with facilities for hand-washing
B. A Reasonable and safe Response that churches may want to adopt, partially, or in whole, or even, although it may very well be that some churches already prepared their own Advisory.
- Singapore Baptist Convention is mindful that we are first and foremost a spiritual association of Christ-followers, assembling together as brothers and sisters in Christ all over Singapore and even beyond, some on Saturdays, others, on Sundays, and some others, over the week nights.
Part I: Explanation to the Congregation
- A Healthcare Professional (doctor or nurse) in the congregation who gives a formal Dos & Don’ts on handling the 2019-nCoV (formerly known as Wuhan Virus).
Part II: Engaging the Congregation
- A pastoral response in terms of trusting God for protection while at the same time practices hygiene (no shaking hands at the door, just a wave or nod of head will do, pastoral hospital visit to be minimised or even excused, as the MOH latest requirement for visit is limited to 2, including care giver, while in the past, it’s 4, excluding pastors, fellowship meals to observe strict hygiene, with servers wearing gloves, etc.).
- A protocol for those who are sick to excuse from coming to church, and for those who are weak or susceptible, to exercise self-care and stay away from the masses.
- A process of contact-tracing for all attendees.
- An advice for attendees to apply self-quarantine, when he or she is feeling unwell.
- A means of Temperature-taking is helpful, albeit, limited, as the virus is found to be asymptomatic or symptomatic.
- Churches to avail hand sanitizers.
Part III: Exemplary in conducting of the Lord’s Supper
- Churches should review if they want the pastor and servers of the Lord Supper to wear gloves and face mask (as pastors are speaking over the elements may introduce saliva, or the occasional scratching of the face or even an involuntary sneeze).
- Churches should also review how and in what form the Lord’s Supper elements ought to be, as the traditional practice of handing out the trays containing the bread and the cup are being passed along the aisles, and congregations’ hand contact, without protective gloves, if there should be an unwell worshipper, the risk of catching any bacteria or virus is an undeniable reality, which could be avoided.