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Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference,

I greet you in the name and spirit of Christ who brings assuring comfort and peace amid chaos.

Over the last few months the world has been closely monitoring the news of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. As expected, the Faith community immediately responded with calls for prayers for all impacted by COVID-19. Christians must call for calm and measured precautions as we learn how to manage and treat this virus.

First and foremost, we cannot blame any ethnic group, particularly Asians, for the advent of COVID-19. Such targeting or racial profiling, such as instances of verbal and physical assault, on those who are from countries where the virus has appeared is unacceptable behavior by Christ-followers.

Secondly, accurate knowledge is essential. Our Desert Southwest website is a great place to find such resources at https://dscumc.org/disaster-response-resources/.

Thirdly, preparation is critical. Post information in key areas of your church campus. Implementing small changes at your church now can make a critical difference down the line. Please use our Local Church Guidelines to make common sense changes. Our conference is also working on a “Conference COVID-19 Response Plan” which will be guidelines for pastors and staff and will make those available on our website this week.

Fourth, there are some mitigating measures that may be easily instituted in our congregations. These are some things we hope our churches and members will do immediately.

  • Stay home if you are not feeling well, and especially if you are coughing.
  • Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizers.
  • Have hand sanitizers readily available around the church property, not just in restrooms.
  • Have facial tissue (Kleenex) and trash receptacles available throughout the church property.
  • Discourage hugging and handshaking, as an alternative use an elbow bump or the Asian tradition of bowing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, not into your hand or fist.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects such as door handles, cell phones, table surfaces, offering plates, and chairs.

We will be offering updates and links on our conference website at: https://dscumc.org/disaster-response-resources/.

As people of faith, let us keep praying, as we prepare and respond to this global concern. In faith, let us remember that God is with us and we are not alone.

In Christ,

Bishop Bob

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