In 2005, a BC Physician, Dr. Tim Foggin invited Bridges of Love to join in mobilizing Canadian Churches, to be prepared with a response to a Pandemic Influenza. Pandemic Preparedness is a vehicle for connecting the church with the community. Being prepared for a Pandemic is being prepared for any Emergency, demonstrating the love of Christ, within your community. Tim and I developed a discussion paper (GUIDE) which is intended as a starting point for your churches Pandemic Preparedness Plans.
We have had an introduction to a Pandemic Influenza with the out-break of the H1N1. We were very fortunate that the virus was not as virulent as had been previously predicted. We have been touched by the potential threat of such a disaster, however, so it is only good planning to keep preparing for any disaster which might occur. We know pandemics can occur again, so please do not give up the quest to have yourself, family, church or ministry prepared with a Christian response as we care for one another and our community.
2020 we were introduced to, COVID-19 Corona Virus. This has indeed been an unprecedented occurence and the process has been not as anticipated. Pandemic planning from all sectors seems to be uncertain for how to handle this out-break, so it has been a learning and challenging time. We continue to learn as this pandemic continues to unfold. Even though this documents were written many years ago and are based on an Influenza Pandemic, much of the information is still relevant for today's planning.
PRACTICALLY SPEAKING...How can the local church respond?
We know in the days of the early church, the thing that most impressed their neighbours was the community of love they witnessed among believers. In every age, the most persuasive evidence for the gospel is not words or arguments but a living demonstration of God's character through Christian love for one another, expressed not only in word, but demonstrated in tangible and practical ways.
Reports state that government officials taking charge for a Pandemic will let the public know when to move into isolation or what they call the 'social distancing phase', as essential services are implemented. Will the orders to take refuge and seek isolation be our mandate? Will Christians retreat into seclusion for safety and protection against this devastating virus? Or will we help a neighbour who might be without food or needing assistance during a pandemic? Will we be prepared to step out with a touch of God's Love? How would Jesus respond if he were walking with us today?
Churches have an opportunity like never before to put our faith into action. A pandemic is a civic responsibility that everyone needs to address but as followers of Christ, we are to be His example, as the shining light in our community. How does that play out individually as well as corporately as the body of Christ? Are we willing to let down our nets and follow Him? Please join on a mission of joining hands with our Christian brothers and sisters to meet people where they are - our neighbours next door…