There is a certain level of anxiety and suspicion of others that has crept in to our psyche, but we must not forget our call as Christians to love our neighbour.
In our responding as a Church it is most important to heed the advice of the health professionals whose expertise is to protect the community and prevent the spread of the disease, and to be aware of public health announcements.
As the Church, we are part of congregations and communities that are relating to each other in close proximity. Our agencies and schools are responding appropriately to their particular contexts.
As the Church, we also need to respond in ways that are consistent with our vision -attending to people who are most vulnerable, to those who may feel anxious or isolated.
As local congregations, you may want to think about your worship practices, including serving communion, passing the peace and greeting each other in ways that reflect our common life, and at the same time attend to the health advice that we are given.
The situation is changing rapidly so please keep yourselves informed through official health sources in your state or territory.
For now, I offer you a brief prayer and encourage you to share it with those in your communities.
Grace and peace,
Dr Deidre Palmer
5 March 2020
Gracious and loving God,
Give wisdom and strength to all those in our community and around the world, who are responding to the coronavirus - health professionals, government officials, aged care providers, school leaders.
May those who mourn the loss of loved ones to the virus, be comforted.
May those in our community who are feeling anxious, find peace and reassurance.
May our congregations, and faith communities be places of compassion, attentive to those who are impacted by the coronavirus.
May we be communities of empathy, love and care, in all we face.
Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.