Addressing COVID-19 With The Church Body

A Letter From Senior Pastor Jim Olson:
Hello to all our New Hope family, as you are well aware there is great concern, anxiety and fear surrounding the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19). Some of you have probably wondered how we are addressing or will be addressing the issue of the virus here at New Hope. The following is a letter that one church here in the Spokane area has sent out to their church family. I believe that it strongly represents our views here at New Hope so I am passing it on to you. Some content has been removed because it does not pertain to us here at New Hope Christian Center.  We have been diligently taking the proper precautions at the church.  We are not going to cancel any activities at this time, however, we will visit this each day and inform you of any changes that will take place. 
In Spokane, and around the world, there is widespread fear, concern, and anxiety about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Our government leaders at every level are urging caution; earlier this week, our governor banned all gatherings over 250 people in three counties on the west side of our state. We take the health and safety of our community very seriously. As Christians, what should our response be? 
1. God does not give us fear! 1 Timothy 2:17 says, “ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Living in, or acting out of, a constant state of fear is not what God intended for us. God’s desire is peace for all people. Fear-based decisions are rarely good ones, and there are many illogical fears about this disease. Guard yourself against being swept up by fear, panic, or anxiety.

2. Exercise Wisdom. When faced with potential danger, it’s wise to be cautious (which is different than fear).  We are taking the precaution of deep cleaning our building and disinfecting before and after each service at our church. This includes our North Kids classrooms, toys, surfaces, etc. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends the following precautions for everyone:

Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Please stay home if you are sick. 
When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. 
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. 
3. Stay Informed. Make sure you are getting true and accurate information from reliable sources such as the CDC. Social media is not always a reliable source, the report found through these channels should be cross-checked. Here is what we know is true: this infection is most dangerous for the elderly or those with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.). If you fall into those categories, you should take extra precautions. If you do not fall into these categories, please continue to be cautious and vigilant in your hygiene regimen. The vast majority of those who contract the disease experience mild symptoms and make a full recovery. 
Currently, in Spokane, the risk of being exposed to the virus is low; as we send this email, there are no confirmed cases in Spokane county. We have no immediate plans to cancel services or other group meetings—we believe it is safe to keep coming to church! We do ask as a courtesy to everyone that you stay home if you or your children are sick and practice the precautions listed above. 
Please join us in prayer for this disease to be quickly contained.  If you are sick and need prayer, please email or call, and we will pray for you. We believe in the power of prayer and the God that heals us. 
In Christ,
Pastor Jim Olson