For more resources visit wheaton.edu/hdi-covid19 Page 25
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22)
In this verse, James reiterates one of his central points: that faith without action is
incomplete. In a similar way when preparing for a potential crisis, we need to listen well
when creating a plan. We need to pray without ceasing. We need to do the work of putting
our preparedness plan into action. Implementing our plan is a practical way to ensure that
our faith, love, and actions line up.
Action: Stay Informed
Staying informed by following updates disseminated by local, provincial, and federal public
health agencies is key to putting preparedness into action. Seek out and listen to trusted
sources that have been monitoring COVID-19 and issuing updated information, resources, and
recommendations. Though not meant to serve as an exhaustive list, here are a few agencies that
you might consider looking to for information (in alphabetical order):
• Government of Canada Coronavirus (COVID-19): Outbreak update
• Public Health Agency of Canada
• Travel and Tourism Canada (travel advisories)
• World Health Organization (WHO)
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
As noted earlier, churches are also encouraged to reach out to local
public health agencies and establish relationships. Research shows
that partnerships between faith-based organizations and public health
agencies can help save lives.
Action: Consider Modifying Practices
Churches oﬀer signiﬁcant social support that enhances resilience, yet when it comes to public
health emergencies like COVID-19, this can actually put churches in a high-density outbreak
region at greater risk. As central gathering places, churches need to think through how typical
patterns of coming together put people at risk. For example, think about how worship practices
and greeting times may need to be modiﬁed to limit exposure.
Take the practice of communion. Diﬀerent churches will be less or more hesitant to adapt
practices. What is important is to be asking questions like: How can we make communion more
hygienic while spiritually ministering to people now? How can we both encourage those who
don’t feel well to stay home, while also continuing to minister to them? At what point do we
make more radical changes or suspend communion?
For example, if you use a “common cup,” this could be the time to start preparing communion
in individual disposable cups. Perhaps your congregation already does this. However, if you are
passing the cups via communion trays from person to person down the pew, it increases risk.
STEP 6: Adapt to Changing Needs
there is almost always an
element of surprise and
when it’s time to roll out the
plan and take action. The
good news is that there are
steps your church can take to
help navigate the unexpected.