News and Views

To the clergy and laity of the Baltimore-Washington Conference: on the Coronovirus

Posted by Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling on

Editor’s note: We have updated this so that it is consistent with the latest episcopal update (March 12, 2020).

To the clergy and laity of the Baltimore-Washington Conference:

As our global community is dealing with COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, it is our responsibility to be prepared and to act with the health and welfare of our conference in mind. It is also imperative that we rely on credible sources of information. 

At this time, it is understood that this virus spreads through person-to-person contact. That includes respiratory droplets produced when a person sneezes or coughs. A secondary source of infection can occur when we come into contact with those droplets on surfaces and then touch our mouth, nose, or eyes. The best way to limit the spread of any disease is through proper preventive measures. 

Preparedness at this time includes:

Personal

  • Use thorough hand-washing protocol (wash with soap and water for at least two minutes).
  • Remain at home if you are symptomatic with fever or upper respiratory illnesses or if you are living with someone who is symptomatic.
  • Follow the proper cough protocol (into sleeve, use tissues, dispose of tissues properly, wash hands).
  • If you have traveled to an area on increased alert for COVID-19 and you feel sick, quarantine at home and call a medical professional.

Communal

  • Those serving Communion should wash hands thoroughly, and use hand sanitizer.
  • When serving Communion, refrain from intinction at this time.
  • Use wafers or pre-cut bread for Communion.
  • Serve the Communion elements rather than allowing others to serve themselves.
  • Do not shake hands during times of greeting or the passing of the peace.
  • Anyone serving food should follow hand-washing protocol and be in good health.
  • Ensure you have a good communication system for sharing vital information quickly.
  • Purchase hand sanitizer for use during any times of serving (Communion, food, pantries, etc.).

Please check with your local government (DC, Maryland or West Virginia) regarding public gatherings and instruction. Also see my latest updates regarding DC churches.

Travel

  • No BWC employees, leaders, VIM or ERT teams should be traveling internationally.
  • If you are returning from international travel, please self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • No non-essential travel within the United States. Determine that the travel you are doing is essential to your work. Determine if you may accomplish your goals and purposes virtually or at a later time after the pandemic has passed.

The operations of the Conference Mission Center can be conducted remotely. Therefore, if we are required to work from home, we will be able to continue providing support to our laity and clergy.

Please remain in prayer for those affected by this virus and their caregivers. 

Blessings and Peace,
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling

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