Looking for help drafting a letter to your congregation about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and its impact on your church family?
Northshore has openly shared its letter as a sample template for other churches to use. Northshore is located in Kirkland, Washington, in the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in that area.
The communications staff at Northshore recommends letting your congregation know your plan of action and what your expectations are of them. The staff explained that it’s important that you give your congregation the opportunity to feel heard in this communication. Here is what they sent from their pastor when they knew COVID-19 was spreading in their community:
Dear Northshore Family,
I want to update you on what’s happening at Northshore in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in our area. Like you, I’ve been following this evolving story with great concern. I’ve also reached out to local city officials and spoken with a number of other pastors in the area to gain perspective on how to best move forward. Please read through this entire email as it contains detailed plans for keeping our campus safe, and how you can help.
At this time, officials are not recommending the cancelation of public events or Sunday church gatherings. Northshore will remain open and we will continue to have services on Sundays and midweek programming. In the event that local and state health officials* do recommend closure or we determine it is in the best interest of our Northshore family to close, we will inform everyone to the best of our abilities through our website, emails and social media.
During this time, here’s how we are committed to keeping our campus clean:
During this time, we are asking you to help stop the spread of the virus in the following ways:
If you or a family member are sick or need to stay home during this time, you are welcome to watch Sunday services online. We’ve got an open spot for you to watch Northshore Online during our 8, 9:30, or 11 a.m. services on our website or on our Facebook Page.
In addition to keeping our campus clean, we will be taking extra care of our kids’ spaces. Toys and rooms will be sanitized before and after every service.
Starting this Sunday, March 8, we will also have online content available for kids who need to stay home.
Pray – Pray for those impacted by the virus, as well as their families and loved ones.
Give – In the coming weeks, we’re looking to help those at the Life Care Center, where the virus first appeared in our area, as well as others in our area. If you’d like to join us, you can donate by heading to northshore.church/give/ and selecting the “Together For” fund.
Serve – As we’ve been praying and thinking about ways we can be together for our neighbors in the midst of this outbreak. We’ve been in touch with the leadership at the Life Care Center of Kirkland to see how we can help. As you may have heard, they are dealing with a number of potential coronavirus cases and are in quarantine. We sent out an email earlier today detailing our plan to prepare and deliver care packages to their residents and staff.
If you’d like to share your thoughts, concerns, questions, and ideas with us as we navigate our response to this situation, we’d love to hear from you. Your input and feedback are truly important to us. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
While we cannot control the virus, the spread or the impact it has in our church, we’re doing everything we can to make this campus as safe and clean as possible. We appreciate your cooperation and commitment to help us do just that. We must also remember that God has not called us to live in fear but in faith. As the apostle, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit of God does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” My prayer is that God will fill all of us with these three gifts, no matter what comes our way.
*Ministries should check with your local/state health department for questions about closures, outreach precautions, and sanitation.
**Northshore has plans in place regarding privacy and how to handle this sensitive information.
Communicating in a Time of Coronavirus https://www.brotherhoodmutual.com/resources/safety-library/risk-management-articles/disasters-emergencies-and-health/general-health-and-injury-prevention/coronavirus-communication/
In-Person Services Cancelled: Taking the Gospel Online https://www.brotherhoodmutual.com/resources/safety-library/risk-management-articles/disasters-emergencies-and-health/general-health-and-injury-prevention/coronavirus-gospel-online/
Posted March 10, 2020
The information provided in this article is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.
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