Brothers and sisters in Christ,
We the pandemic task team are so inspired by your commitment to do no harm whether that be via creating and implementing CDC and state health department guidelines and our recommendations with in-person worship, or by not worshiping in-person to protect yourselves and those you love. Your actions reveal your attentiveness to the call to all Christians in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
“Do you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
At the time of this release we have been on this COVID-19 global pandemic journey for over six months and sometimes, when we’ve existed in a state of disaster so long, crises no longer trigger heightened senses of caution and it is easy to slide into complacency with practicing preventative measures. Continue to wear masks, social distance and sanitize your hands often. Unfortunately, we have reached a milestone of over 200,000 deaths in the U.S. and there are upticks in coronavirus numbers in some areas of Europe. The pandemic is far from over and we are now approaching flu season. We want to encourage pastors and lay leadership to remind your parishioners and fellow faith community members to get a flu shot and seek out those who may be homebound and help them get flu shots as well. Getting a flu shot could help mitigate facing both the impact of the flu and the coronavirus, as both can be fatal. This is extremely important with the change in weather as people worship together in person.
The team received some questions asking if there have been any changes in guidance around having communal meals. We encourage you to adhere to prior recommendations pertaining to communal meals (see Meals, page 6).
At the request of the pandemic task team, the Mississippi Conference Trustees researched some technological devices as options to improve air quality and purification inside buildings. Information given in this overview is compiled from various papers and NPBI unit specifications. There are several claims for the effectiveness of NPBI Ionization devices. Some laboratory studies claim that operation of an NPBI device for 30 minutes can reduce SARS, MERS and flu virus counts by 93 to 95 percent. Any church that considers an NPBI system should contact their HVAC engineer, company or maintenance technician for devices, applications and installations. One HVAC engineer stated that any new HVAC system installed in a commercial building today should most certainly contain NPBI devices. Click here (find black and white version here) for more details about these devices.
Finally friends, as we encourage a renewed commitment to caution and an abundance of care, as your make daily decisions about your health and how you can aid in preserving the health of others, think of someone you knew and reflect on if they would have lived a healthier life with healthier habits, how influential their presence would have been if they could have been here longer and been able to offer more ministry to the world for a longer period of time.
Praying that your soul prospers as your health prospers,
The Mississippi Conference Pandemic Task Team
Dr. Marcus Gaut Dr. Bob Ford
Dr. Steve Shirley Dr. Thais Walden
Mrs. Lynette Harris Mrs. Sarah King
Rev. Haywood Hannah Rev. Trey Skaggs
Rev. Dr. Joe Ranager Mrs. Jamie Beatty
Mr. Cameron Cloud
Bishop James E. Swanson Sr. Rev. Vickie White
Rev. Dayna Goff Rev. Fred Britton
Miss Jasmine Haynes Mr. Mike Howington