Faith-Based Response to Epidemics

Faith-Based Response to Epidemics

ROLE OF CHURCHES, DIOCESES AND COMPASSIONATE CHRISTIANS 

Combat fear with knowledge in order to encourage preparedness and decrease stigma. Maintain operational continuity and continue worship life in the case of potential quarantine and disruption. Show God’s compassion and care to those in our communities who are affected.

 

The Presiding Bishop Michael Curry reminds us to love God, love our neighbors and to love ourselves in this timely video:

 

 

IDENTIFYING GIFTS AND NEEDS

Throughout the year, Episcopal Relief & Development staff and Partners in Response and Resilience (PiRRs) work with dioceses across The Episcopal Church to help them identify how their strengths can be used in ministry. By going through the Matching Gifts and Needs After A Disaster module, leaders are able to name the people, places and things they have access to that can make a world of a difference to someone who is disproportionately impacted by a disaster.  In the context of the coronavirus, how can your church, diocese or ministry meet needs using the gifts you already possess? All are invited to go through the module to help discern your call to respond at this time.

 

COMMUNITY, INFORMATION AND AGENCY

During disasters and epidemics, remember this acronym: C.I.A.–Community, Information and Agency. As church and community leaders, support your community and maintain connection throughout the event, provide your community with verified information about the health and safety implications of the event and then allow them to decide what’s best for them.

 

SHIFTING THE WAY WE RESPOND

As an organization, we are already responding by developing or enhancing tools to support partners as they serve their communities. These tools promote spiritual, humanitarian relief, equipment, health messaging and pastoral ministries while conforming to physical distancing and other public health guidelines. For example, safe practices can address how to feed vulnerable households while minimizing the spread of the virus or how communities can develop a timetable so that water collection at wells are spaced apart to avoid gatherings of people. Read our recent web statement

 

Marisol Salgado, the licensed counselor from the Hurricane Harvey Recovery program in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas has been offering Spanish-language webinars addressing the impacts of isolation. Likewise, Molly Carr from St. Isadore’s Abundant Harvest Foodtruck Ministry in Texas has been able to continue providing meals to immigrant families in remote areas. Instead of hosting a community gathering with buffet meals, she has been delivering food door to door.

 

 

Aside from social media advocacy, the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry  has also been delivering meals to farmworkers who are without work at this time. The ministry is a combined effort by the Episcopal Dioceses of East and North Carolina. In a recent food distribution deployment, staff and volunteers ran out of food because the need was so great. They plan to continue.

 

 

 

Prayer for People Critically Ill or Facing Great Uncertainty

 

God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.

Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.

Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.

-Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765