With the World Health Organization having this week declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a global pandemic, the ELCA is striving for congregations and other church gatherings to be well-informed and well-prepared. In response, the church has developed resources that offer guidance as we minister to and engage with each other, and within our communities.

The resources, available at elca.org/publichealth, include a statement from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton; recommendations for worship in times of public health concerns; prayers and prayer suggestions that may be used or adapted as needed; a congregational planning checklist; information on online giving; and a starter guide for how to livestream a service.

“When anxiety is high in our culture, worship continues to be a primary location for the proclamation both of the good news of Jesus Christ and of the continuing compassion and care of God in the midst of our humanity,” the ELCA Worship resource reads. “It is a place where we can find solace and reassurance in the midst of our fears.

“Great care should be taken to continue this central ministry of the church, especially in these times. Congregations are advised to use common sense and intentional action with regard to preventing the spread of pathogens while continuing to gather around the means of grace.”

The landing page also includes links to the latest information from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the CDC’s recommended preventive actions to arrest the spread of respiratory diseases.

Find the complete list of resources at elca.org/publichealth.

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