COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) is now spreading in the UK and it is worth us sharing a few thoughts and guidelines at this stage. As people of faith, who believe in the sovereignty and goodness of God, we want to stand firm against panic and fear, while also carefully following wise counsel in order to both remain safe and care for those around us who are most at risk.
We have been monitoring advice from the government and the Church of England and offer these responses for your prayerful consideration:
We intend to continue to keep pace with government guidance - neither falling behind nor rushing ahead of informed recommendations.
Current guidance is this:
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
At the current time and based on our understanding of what is known of COVID-19 and other similar respiratory viruses, it is likely that older people and those with chronic medical conditions may be vulnerable to severe disease. As more information emerges, recommendations may change.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.
Please find the latest advice here:https://www.gov.uk/government/...
We have been advised to stop holding public services for the foreseeable future.
In the meantime our services will be streamed live on Facebook here:https://www.facebook.com/stmar...
and on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channe...
You can access the audio of the previous Sunday's service by dialling 02080162426
In showing a faithful Christian response we want to be particularly conscious and compassionate towards the elderly and isolated at this time.
With increased numbers self-isolating and the guidelines shifting each week we want to be ready to offer support to those who need it in our neighbourhood.
In order to prepare ourselves we are putting together lists of those who may be in need of help (initially, in the form of telephone support) and those who may be willing to give it.
If you know someone in the community who may benefit from a regular phone call to check they are OK then please pass their details to Anthea Carmichael - firstname.lastname@example.org
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:6-7
At a time where many are tempted to be anxious and fearful, there is a call on each of us to prayerfully live in the peace of God, bringing peace to others and serving compassionately.
We pray for all infected and affected by this disease and petition our loving Father for mercy in our time of need, knowing that he is good and his faithfulness lasts forever.