After weeks in our daily news, COVID-19 has now been declared a pandemic. It is having an enormous impact globally, economically, and personally as a health issue. For us as a church community there are some basic things for us to be aware of, and guidelines for what we can do to stop the spread of this and other communicable diseases.

Personal Hygiene: This is the first and most important way to avoid infecting others and being infected ourselves.

  • Cover your mouth when you need to cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue. Be sure you and children under your care don’t spray it around!
  • Wash hands regularly and well, particularly after going to the toilet. This is especially important before handling any food. Regular soap and water is fine and often more effective than hand sanitiser. Wash for 20 seconds, rub all over between fingers and on the backs of your hands, and rinse and dry thoroughly. Help children under your care do the same.
  • If you are unwell – stay away from others! The symptoms for Covid-19 include fever, coughing and difficulty with breathing. Contact your health provider/medical centre by phone and follow their advice. Alternatively call the national HEALTHLINE 0800 358 5453
  • Be sceptical of the accuracy of social media posts! Double check on the official Unite against COVID-19 website covid19.govt.nz

Church Community: We are a community, and we are committed to caring for and supporting each other. Here are some guidelines that we are following:

  • We will put notices about hygiene in all church bathrooms and kitchen areas. We will also ensure that there are adequate supplies of soap and hand tissues.
  • You may want to consider greeting others with a hand over your heart instead of shaking hands or hugging.
  • When we celebrate communion you will notice that instead of tearing a piece of bread for yourself, the bread will be cut into individual pieces.
  • If you are unwell, let the church office know (04) 472-1920. If you are infected with the Covid-19 virus, health authorities will ask you to isolate yourself.  However, we still want to keep in contact and to assist with any support that you need. We won’t know and can’t help unless you tell us!
  • If it reaches the point where public meetings are restricted we will develop alternative ways to meet and worship together via digital/web services, through live-streaming or other ways. Watch Central’s Facebook page (“Wellington Central Baptist”) and website for more information: central.org.nz/

Focus on prayer instead of panic. Remember that God is at work in and through us and all those responding to control the spread of this disease. Pray for the control of the disease. Pray for all those impacted by the virus and their families. Pray for health workers who are caring for patients with the virus. Pray for churches everywhere, that this will be an opportunity for us to truly show the Gospel message of the God’s love for all people.