Although washing your hands and maintaining social distance is necessary to protect your physical health, your emotional well-being and spiritual needs are just as important. Churches are finding new ways to keep us connected and supported — while still considering the safety of the congregation.
If you’re seeking ways to remain active in your faith community, here are some things to consider.
Serving the Greater Good
Churches offer hope and encouragement. They also play a vital role in working with schools, businesses, health care providers and the government in slowing the spread of diseases. Faith-based organizations are trusted sources of information about coronavirus, how it spreads and who is at higher risk of getting very sick.
Finding Spiritual and Emotional Care
Churches provide a strong sense of community, partnership and purpose. This is particularly true during times of crisis. Clergy and volunteers can offer support if you have lost a loved one, are elderly or sick, or are feeling stressed.
Anxiety during uncertain times is normal, and many people turn to church leaders for help — nearly 25% of people who seek help for their mental health turn to pastors or other faith leaders before visiting a mental health professional.
It’s more important than ever to remember that your mental health matters as much as your physical health. Consider reaching out to your pastor or a fellow parishioner. Reducing your stress and connecting with others not only helps you feel better, but can also bolster your immune system.
The New Normal of Worship
The spiritual and emotional help that churches offer is one of the reasons that cities, counties and states are including places of worship in their reopening plans. After weeks of stay-at-home orders, churches are beginning a phased-in return to everyday life.
But large gatherings are unlikely to be held soon. Instead, some states are encouraging churches to continue virtual sermons or drive-in style services to reduce the risk of infection. No matter where you live, though, press pause on attending church services in-person if you are immunocompromised.
Here are a few examples of ways The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says churches can keep everyone safe:
- Encourage elderly churchgoers or those with underlying health conditions to stay home
- Hold events in large, well-ventilated areas or outdoors
- Keep people who do not live together in the same household at least 6 feet apart
- Offer phone or online (live or recorded) services
- Provide multiple mini worship services with limited attendance
- Sanitize frequently touched surfaces between services
Together in Spirit
When you eventually return to church, you may find that some rituals have changed. Worshippers are likely to wave rather than shake hands or hug. Your church leaders also may ask you to avoid holding hands during the service.
Other ideas to prevent the spread of infection during worship services include:
- Avoiding use of a common Communion cup
- Receiving Communion elements in your hand instead of on your tongue
- Using a stationary collection box, the mail or electronic methods instead of passing a collection basket
Doing Your Part
Beyond the safety steps your church will take, you can help keep yourself healthy by:
- Avoiding people who are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19
- Cleaning and disinfecting tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks
- Staying home if you feel sick
- Washing your hands often with soap and water, or cleaning with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Wearing a mask or cloth face covering
Here for Your Family’s Whole Health
You deserve to feel whole in body, mind and spirit. AdventHealth is committed to providing the latest information that supports your family’s whole health. To learn more about the new proactive measures we’re using to keep you safe, visit our website.