God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
~excerpted from the New Zealand Prayer Book, Prayer for People Critically Ill
It’s easy to neglect basic sanitary tasks until we are reminded of their importance in times of contagious illness.
Washing your hands isn’t a guarantee against infections. However, it will provide a stronger first defense against illness.
We should all be washing our hands a lot more often:
- After using the bathroom.
- Before eating.
- Any time your hands are visibly dirty.
- After handling raw meat.
- More often if you have a cold or flu.
- After feeding or playing with a pet.
- After treating a cut or wound.
- After disposing of trash or garbage.
- After blowing your nose.
- During seasons of increased illness, some folks adopt the practice of hand washing as soon as walking into the house, even if they just went outside briefly.
This is not the time to try to save the environment. Have single-use paper toweling available.
Classrooms, sacristies –wherever there are people– should be well-stocked with paper towels, pump top soap, and tissues. Be sure your trashcans are visible.
Be intentional about modeling best practices!
Basic guidelines for nursery and classroom care:
- Wipe down all tables and chairs with a disinfecting spray: 1 part bleach to 10 parts warm water and air dry. (1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart water. This must be made fresh each day it is used!)
- Use this same mixture to clean toys, changing tables, etc.
- After every use of the nursery, wash the crib sheets in hot water with a small amount of bleach and dry them on hot setting. Wipe bed rails with disinfecting spray.
- Use disposable changing pads on the changing tables and discard pad after every diaper change.
- Regularly wash toys thoroughly with soapy water and dip in the above bleach solution. Air dry the toys.
- Check for broken parts and throw away any broken toy.
- Vacuum and/or mop floors after each use.
- At the end of the day, clean and sanitize bathrooms as well, and empty trash. Have a covered receptacle for used diapers.
- Don’t forget to clean any chairs, tables, swings, bouncy chairs, etc. that children sit in.
- Caregivers and teachers should wash their hands before and after changing diapers, or any use of the rest room facilities and before and after handling any food.
Snacks and Coffee Hour
- Remind kitchen volunteers to wash their hands. Make it easy with paper towels and pump-top soap.
- Pre-plate individual servings.
- Use cups for fruit and servings of goldfish crackers, etc.
- Pre-serve cold drinks.
- Wipe down necessary common utensils (coffee urn, creamer) every few minutes with a disinfecting wipe.
- Kitchen areas must be cleaned before they are disinfected. Hot soapy water first, then disinfecting spray that is allowed to air dry.
Sometimes it Helps to Be Specific
You will need to work with your church leadership to decide how to share both the information about who should not be attending…and how they will be able to partake in the life of the congregation while they are at home.
Who should not be coming to church or Sunday school? According to the CDC:
- Individuals experiencing mild, moderate or acuterespiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, et al.) and/or fever (above 37.3 C/99.3 F)
- Individuals who have used acetaminophen/ibuprofin/aspirin within 24-48 hours to treat symptoms unrelated to an injury
- Individuals who have traveled (or whose household/immediate family members have traveled) to any of the following Level 1-3 countries in the past two weeks: China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea
- Individuals who have traveled (or whose household/immediate family members have traveled) to US states with confirmed community transmission of COVID-19 in the past two weeks: California, Washington, New York
Watch this fun (gross?) video clip from TV’s Mythbusters on sneezes. Teach everyone to sneeze into their elbow!!
Take this moment of heightened concern to walk children through advanced hand washing and hygiene.
Sharing Information and Best Practices
Here’s the video Pastor (and Building Faith editor) Keith Anderson created to update his congregation on the practices already in place and what to expect in coming weeks around worship.
A Theological Note
This is from the Rev. Canon Theologian of the Diocese of New Jersey Kara Slade on why receiving communion in one kind only (bread in this case) is a complete reception of communion:
Your theological fact of the day is the “doctrine of concomitance.” Christ is not divisible, so no one part of Christ’s substance can be divided. The Eucharist contains the entire real presence of Christ in both the bread and the wine. We do not receive half of Jesus in the bread and the other half in the wine.
Let us know what is working (or not) in your community!