ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has issued a statement in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). “We are living in the time of the coronavirus,” the statement read, in part. “We are also living in the time of social media and constant, relentless news coverage.”
In Martin Luther’s “Whether One May Flee From a Deadly Plague,” Eaton said, “he emphasized the duty to care for the neighbor, the responsibility of government to protect and provide services to its citizens, a caution about recklessness, and the importance of science, medicine and common sense.”
The statement continued, “Many of our people have the same concerns as those in Luther’s day. Many of our people are anxious. Luther’s counsel, based on Scripture, is still sound. Respect the disease. Do not take unnecessary risks. Provide for the spiritual and physical needs of the neighbor. Make use of medical aid. Care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.
“The churchwide organization recommends the following for churchwide staff: Wash your hands, stay home when you are sick, wear a mask if you have symptoms, consult your medical provider. Bishops and pastors will provide guidelines for worship and church gatherings.”