The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is now impacting all states in our territory. Therefore, the Mid-America Union Conference, in consultation with the leaders of our six conferences, is recommending immediate steps to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
While the MAUC office in Lincoln, Nebraska, is currently open, we are complying with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines limiting the size of public gatherings to 10 people until March 31. We have implemented a modified work schedule, which may change at any time if new recommendations are issued.
“Despite the uncertainties of this virus, we are greatly comforted when we remember that God is still in charge,” said MAUC president Gary Thurber. “And because He carries us in the palm of His hand we have nothing to fear. ‘I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears’” (Ps. 34:4).
To date, seven states in Mid-America territory have declared a State of Emergency. Since the intensity of the outbreak may differ according to geographic region, response plans for churches, schools and other organizations may need individual adjustments.
Many entities are currently implementing remote operations. Throughout this situation, members are encouraged to continue supporting the ministries of their church by mailing tithes and offerings, or through AdventistGiving online. The Adventist Giving App is safe and simple to use and works well with both Android and Apple platforms, if your church is signed up.
“Mailing tithes and offerings is always appropriate,” said MAUC treasurer Troy Peoples. “If you don’t have a tithe envelope, please be sure to indicate on a separate piece of paper where funds should go.”
MAUC secretary Gil Webb stated that members should stay informed by monitoring information from reliable news sources, including local health authority announcements. “We encourage all to be in prayer for this situation, to use common sense and follow the recommendations of their local health authorities,” he said.
Based on the current information, organizations can build criteria for deciding how to move forward:
- The CDC states that their recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.
- Have you reviewed the recommendations of your local city and state health officials? What guidance have they given?
- If they give a mandate, you should follow their orders.
- Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers should modify events to be virtual.
- Are you able to ascertain the level of concern from your constituents and the level of adherence to meet or not meet physically?
- Have you identified your vulnerable populations? Can you make contact with them to advise them not to attend your meeting?
- Are you able to arrange your meeting so that hand hygiene and social distancing can be done effectively?
- Is this a meeting that can be conducted virtually?
- What considerations need to be made for second and third level impacts of your decisions?
- What virtual options do you have available to conduct operations?
- Should a policy for working remotely be established?
- Do you have the technology in place to conduct essential operations remotely?
- How long can/should you sustain remote operations?
ACTIONS OF OTHER CHURCH ENTITIES
North American Division
NAD administration, in consultation with leaders of the nine unions, has voted that all staff should cease all travels immediately, staff should work remotely, and has canceled or postponed all events and meetings until June 24, including the CALLED Pastors’ Family Convention [rescheduled for June 2022].
As of March 15, the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters is asking employees to work remotely until March 30. Although the Pathways to Health event has been cancelled, General Conference session plans are still in place. Check for updates
CDC checklist for community and faith-based leaders
Example of comprehensive plan for conferences
Example of comprehensive plan for churches