137 articles International Updates

PRAYER ALERT – Coronavirus Statement



PRAYER ALERT – Coronavirus Statement


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DATE: MARCH 7, 2020
FROM: DR. TIMOTHY M. HILL
SUBJECT: CORONAVIRUS STATEMENT

As the world navigates through the complexities of dealing with the coronavirus issue, please be aware that the Church of God takes very seriously the health of all our ministers, employees, and church attenders. It is our plan to assure that every possible consideration and precaution is taken. Likewise, I would personally encourage every local church, state/regional office, and every church entity to exercise wisdom and care as we deal with the potential spread of this virus. Most of all, I encourage all of us to pray for a speedy solution to this situation. In that regard, the following call to prayer was issued earlier on our media platforms:

“I am asking our Church of God family around the world to pray for those impacted by the coronavirus and for many others that are fearful of the possible continued spread of the virus. Because of the deadly consequences of coronavirus, it is important that we lift up those directly impacted by the virus, but that we also take the necessary health precautions personally to prevent the spread of the disease.

Since the outbreak of the virus, I have not changed my travel schedule and have visited several countries around the globe. I am currently traveling with a group of our Church of God family in the Holy Land on our “Journey of Pentecost” tour. However, I have tried to stay mindful of the health recommendations by the local authorities and have exercised personal caution as I have traveled and met with local groups and congregations.

As the coronavirus continues to spread and new cases are discovered, I am calling on our church family to pray for God’s mercy and favor to stop the spread of the virus and bring a total halt to this deadly disease. There is no doubt that we serve a God that hears our prayers and our pleas for help.
As we continue to prayer for healing around the world for those impacted by the coronavirus, all previously scheduled church events will go forward.”

As you face questions about how our local churches should respond or questions about whether certain state, national, or international meetings are going to be held, it is important for you to know that I have appointed a task force to stay on top of this issue and to report to me recommendations that are made by health officials. As noted in the Prayer Alert above, no church events have been cancelled as of this date and each event will be considered on an individual basis as it approaches.

For churches in your state/region, I would encourage you to pass on information about how they can access the reports issued by the Center for Disease Control. Instead of us trying to issue separate guidelines, we suggest that local congregations be familiar with the suggestions and guidance from the CDC and that they follow their recommendations.
 
Most importantly, I ask that our church family continue to pray for a stop to this disease. 

Sincerely,

Timothy M. Hill
General Overseer

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Prayer to Stop Coronavirus



PRAYER ALERT – General Overseer Hill Calls for Prayer to Stop Coronavirus


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DATE: MARCH 13, 2020
FROM: DR. TIMOTHY M. HILL
SUBJECT: CALL FOR PRAYER TO STOP CORONAVIRUS

CLEVELAND, TN: As more and more cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) are reported across the United States and around the world, Dr. Tim Hill, General Overseer of the Church of God, is calling for a day of prayer on Sunday, March 15, 2020, to address this deadly disease:

“It seems that with each news report, there are more and more cases of coronavirus being reported. A spirit of fear prevails across our world, with people fearful of participating in any activities, including work, concerned that they might be exposed or infected by this very contagious virus. Schools are closing. Plants are shutting down. Sporting events are being called off. And the governors of several states have even recommended that large events be cancelled in hope of stopping the spread of the virus.

As I have said many times already and as the Scripture reminds us, we do not serve a God who has given us a spirit of fear, but a God that has given us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. There is no doubt that we need to follow the guidelines that the CDC has provided to stop the spread of this disease (click or tap HERE to view the guidelines). However, we serve a God that has the power to heal our lands. It is in times like this that we need that healing for our nation and our world.

I am asking every church to take time this weekend to have special prayer that God will bring a halt to this coronavirus outbreak. Please ask your prayer warriors to seek the face of God for a healing around the globe. Only God can bring a global healing like is needed.

To see my personal thoughts and how God has directed my thinking over the past few days, I encourage you to view a short video at the link below. Please feel free to share the video as you see fit.

May God bring a healing to our lands. We need his touch more than ever.”

 

CoG COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE
WEPRAYCoG WEBSITE
CDC GUIDLINES


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Update From The General Overseer on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease)



Update From The General Overseer on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease)


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Cleveland, TN: The General Overseer of the Church of God, Dr. Tim Hill, issued the following statement on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic:

“As we hear more and more news reports, I wanted to once again reach out to our church family and let you know that we are continuously monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Since the World Health Organization has today classified the outbreak as pandemic, church leadership has been considering the impact of the virus on our church family, particularly in regards to Smoky Mountain Winterfest and our upcoming church services scheduled for this weekend.

After meeting with a task force on this issue, consulting local doctors and health officials, as well as governmental officials at the White House and in the Tennessee Department of Health, the Smoky Mountain Winterfest will continue as planned this weekend after much consultation with officials at the University of Tennessee/Knoxville. We certainly do not want to take any risks 
with our children and youth leaders, but after multiple conversations, we believe that Winterfest can proceed ahead. I would request that you join me in prayer, not only for the safety of the young people and leaders who will be attending Winterfest, but in prayer for a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God upon this incredible event.

In addition to Winterfest, our churches will be holding their regularly scheduled services this weekend and I am encouraging each local church to take precautions to prevent the possible spread of this disease. The Center for Disease Control has issued some very specific guidelines and suggestions about precautions to keep people healthy. Those guidelines can be found by clicking or tapping HERE.

In addition, the Church of God communication department has created a resource page that contains links to various governmental entities that are providing specific guidance on the coronavirus pandemic. Visit this resource page by clicking or tapping HERE. I would encourage everyone to review these guidelines and to follow the suggestions closely. Since this is an ongoing issue and things are changing daily, additional updates will be issued as needed.

Towards that end, the Executive Committee is in almost continuous discussion as new information is received and we will act quickly if the situation merits such.

While we need to take every precaution to protect our church attenders, our employees, and ourselves, I do not believe that we have to live in fear. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures teach us that we are not to have a spirit of fear. So, once again, I ask that you join me in prayer for our nation and our world that God would bring healing. I also pray that our church family will be a lighthouse and refuge to those families who are suffering from the impact of the virus.

May God bless you in the fulfillment of your ministry.”

 

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COVID-19: Practical Suggestions for Local Churches



COVID-19: Practical Suggestions for Local Churches


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Practical Suggestions for Churches
(March 14, 2020)

As we navigate through these uncharted waters dealing with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, every organization seems to have a list of suggestions of how to survive. In light of those ideas, I thought it would be helpful to offer some specific suggestions to our churches as they continue to have, or seek to have, services during these difficult times.

While the CDC and other health organizations offer specific health and medical guidance, the following suggestions are simple and practical ideas that every church should consider.

Greeters

Having greeters open church doors for attendees will eliminate a variety of people from touching the doors, as well as eliminate the greeters from shaking hands with each person.

Offerings

Instead of passing the “plates,” consider placing offering buckets either at the front of the church during offering time or placing them strategically at doors when people exit.

Protect the Vulnerable 

Encourage the elderly and those with compromised immune systems to take extra precautions, including staying away from large church settings.

Use “Social Distancing”

Although we come from a culture that encourages connectivity, including laying on of hands and greeting each other with an embrace, this is a time to step back from those traditions that could potentially spread the virus.

Smaller Service Gatherings

In areas where the local governmental authorities are requesting that groups no larger than 100 or 250 come together, consider going to smaller service venues/gatherings and have multiple services throughout the week, not just on Sunday mornings.

Emphasize Small Groups

If the governmental authorities are recommending that only a limited number of people congregate, use Sunday school class groups or other small groups to continue the mission and focus of your local church.

Communicate about Giving

Regrettably, many people will not give to your church unless they actually attend services. It is important to communicate to them that all of the ministries of the church are continuing and that the church needs their support. Even though you are not having your regular meetings, encourage them to be loyal stewards to God‘s Kingdom. Electronic giving options are very helpful in these times.

Stop “Let’s Greet Each Other” Time

During times like this, the “meet and greet“ times should be eliminated during, before, and after services.

Continue to Reach Out to Your Community

With school closures and businesses closing, there are going to be families, and especially children, that may have to go without food and other necessities. Consider an outreach effort to those children who may not be getting breakfast and lunch at their school. Also, consider how you can provide assistance to those that may be unemployed due to the virus outbreak.

Go “Electronic” 

If you have a substantial outbreak of the coronavirus in your area, you may need to go fully to an “electronic” church format. Live stream, videoconference, and even Facebook Live may be options that you need to consider. Always remember to remind those watching to give so that the ministries of the church can continue, even though they are not attending church in your physical building. 

Watch Your Church Budget Closely 

If you are unable to have church for several weeks or if your attendance is off substantially for an extended period of time, it is most likely that your church’s financial condition is going to deteriorate. It is important that you reach out to your mortgage holder, as well as to your other creditors, and begin to work out payment arrangements with them immediately, rather than waiting until you are in a crisis situation. 

Clean Your Church Facilities More Often

Any surface that your church members touch should be cleaned with an alcohol-based disinfectant immediately before and following your services. The CDC provides specific guidance on what products are effective in killing this virus. Extra efforts should be made to protect all surfaces of the church from the spread of the virus.

Extra Attention to Children Areas

While children have not been as adversely impacted by the coronavirus as others, there is a concern that children may be spreading the virus. Therefore, all children’s areas should be cleaned thoroughly before and after every service, including extensive cleaning of all toys. 

Sick Staff Should Be Sent Home

Whether the person is a paid staff person or a volunteer, they should be sent home if they exhibit any symptoms of being sick. Even though they may not have the virus, a person that is in a weakened condition could become a carrier for the virus. Those persons should be encouraged to stay home until they are completely well.

Conclusion

There are probably at least another hundred suggestions that you could add to this list. However, the goal is to create an awareness that we need to take extra precautions.

Most importantly, I am reminded that the Bible references 365 scriptures where God tells his people to “fear not.“ Even though we are in a difficult time, we must not have a spirit of fear. Yes, we must take every precaution. However, we serve a God who can resolve all of these issues immediately. Our prayer is that He will do so.
 

To view all the published Church of God Covid-19 Response resources visit the special landing page provided by Church of God Communications at www.churchofgodcommunications.com/covid19 or by simply clicking or tapping the button below.

CoG COVID-19 RESOURCE PAGE

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