Friday, March 13, 2020


In yesterday's blog post about the virus, I encouraged people to attend church for the foreseeable future even as we prepare to respond to the public health crisis at hand. I said we need the church and the church needs us. I have reconsidered that thought. In the first place, I want to be responsible and careful about what I say on this blog. I have always sought to be factual and reasonable. In my view, there is no such thing as too much information (as those who have read my history of the schism can confirm). A lot of people read this blog and trust what I have to say. Some 500 people a day click on to this site. 

I now think each individual person should consider whether to attend church during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Our best sources of information about the coronavirus are the National Institutes of Health, find their website here , and the Center for Disease Control. Find the CDC website here . I recommend that everyone consult these sites and follow the advice therein.

According to the top professionals, anyone over the age of sixty and/or with underlying health issues that compromise immune systems should take extra precautions to avoid the virus. Underlying issues would be conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung diseases, and cancer. The CDC classifies these as "at risk." We know the mortality rate of this virus is worse for older people.

Code words of the day are "social distancing" and "self-quarantine." In other words, stay away from other people because this illness is contagious.

It is important to know how this virus spreads. In the first place, as the CDC says, it "spreads easily" (I interpret that to mean highly contagious). How does it spread? The CDC says it spreads in two ways: airborne and surface.

In airborne, if one is within six feet of an infected person and the infected person coughs or sneezes, one is likely to receive the virus in the droplets, expelled by the infected person's nose or mouth, moving through the air. 

Furthermore, an infected person  may not know he or she is infected for several days and could be spreading the germ unsuspectingly. The CDC says a person may have the virus without overt symptoms for up to fourteen days. Thus, your neighbor at any social gathering may appear to be completely healthy, and even believe that he or she is virus free, only to know differently a few days later. By then, he or she could have infected many people unknowingly. This would grow exponentially. 

The other way coronavirus spreads is on surfaces. According to the CDC the virus can live for days on surfaces. This is why we do not want to shake hands at church, or anywhere else for that matter. Surfaces would be not just the body but possibly items an infected person has touched.

Just as I tell everyone frequently I am not a lawyer, I am also not a medical doctor and I am not giving medical advice.

I am saying keep yourself informed about this virus. There are good, reliable public health websites available for that. 

Meanwhile, I for one will be reconsidering whether I attend church for the duration of this crisis. I am over the age of sixty, red flag. I do not have underlying health issues, green flag. Everyone should weight the evidence and the advice from the medical professionals and decide for him or herself whether to attend church, or any other public social gathering where people will be within six feet of each other.

We as a society will survive this health crisis even though there will be vulnerable individuals among us who will not survive. We are in for a rough time in the next few weeks, possibly months. Unfortunately, we cannot expect to have a vaccine against coronavirus for eighteen months. We are on our own in protecting ourselves and that is where our informed common sense comes in.

For us church people, each of us should weight for him or herself the pluses and minuses of attending services. Meanwhile, keep checking on your friends, neighbors, family members and love and care for them as we Christians are called to do. 

P.S. If you have anything to share with others about how we can get through this crisis, please contribute. We want to know what you think. Send to the email address above.