Response to the Coronavirus – Offering Prayers, Precautions, and Resources

Bishop Hee Soo Jung invites United Methodist churches in the Wisconsin Annual Conference to serve as Christian witnesses of care, calm, and non-anxious presence in our congregations and communities as we respond to news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are encouraged to pray for one another, for our world, for those infected, for those who are offering medical and other care for those who are infected, and for those affected in so many other ways as we deal with this virus. 

“While you pray and continue to serve faithfully in your ongoing ministry, also make plans to prepare your congregation in case there is an outbreak – and as prevention even before there is an outbreak,” says Bishop Jung.

As you prepare in your congregation and community, consider these precautions:

  • How you greet one another – passing the peace or welcoming one another in worship;
  • Remember to use hand sanitizer and have it available and visible, particularly for those helping to serve communion;
  • How you serve communion: by intinction or individual cups (different sites recommend each for different reasons) – have one person, after using hand sanitizer, break the bread and give it to participants – as well as consider how communion will be prepared to be served;
  • How you help and invite people to donate their offering, especially if services are interrupted  (see resource below);
  • How you visibly keep the church building clean and sanitary (door knobs, surfaces, bathrooms – wherever people touch anything);
  • How you communicate to parishioners around reducing risk and around the decisions you make in response to safety for all.

The best source of information is at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website:

The CDC Preparedness Checklist is from 2016, but still relevant and helpful today:
Faith-Based & Community Organizations Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Checklist (PDF)
Lista de Preparación Para Una Pandemia De Gripe Tanto Para Organizaciones Comunitarias Como Religiosas (PDF)

Article from Bishop Bard in the Michigan Annual Conference:
Bishop Urges Calm and Preparation for Coronavirus

Coronavirus and Fundraising:
Fundraising in an Age of Coronavirus

Blog from EMC3 with some interesting thoughts:
Coronavirus Chaos

United Methodist Discipleship Ministries Resources:
Past articles regarding swine flu and serving communion
What to do in worship (2009)

Additional Resources:

The Wisconsin Council of Churches will be developing resources and possibly a video in response. Watch for further information from them
Update 3/2/2020: The Wisconsin Council of Churches resource Flu Season, the Coronavirus, and the Church is now available.
They have also scheduled a webinar on March 10 at 1:00 pm, focused on epidemic preparedness directed at clergy and key lay leaders to help churches prepare for the spread of the novel coronavirus. Register here