Today during the services I had two different local news agencies ask for interviews about the Swine Flu and our church’s reaction. My answer was that we “are monitoring the situation, and will make necessary adjustments as they are needed, however at this time we are confident that the daily safeguards we already have in place provide adequate protection for both our members and guests. Our buildings are thoroughly cleaned and santized on a daily basis, particuarly in the preschool and children’s area, where special attention is paid to santizing toys. In addition, we agree with the recommendations the CDC has put forth regarding ways to prevent the spread of disease, including hand-washing, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, and for those who are sick to stay home and get well. All of our worship services are available for viewing online or on television, and we encourage anyone who might be sick to stay home and take advantage of these alternatives.”
The Catholic Diocese in the Orlando area issued a letter that encouraged people not to touch each other during mass. While each organization must make it’s own decisions about how to handle a situation like this, I have a different opinion. To be clear, I am not speaking as a representative of the church, but as an individual. I think that we are over reacting just a bit.
The regular flu kills thousands each year. In comparison, this outbreak is much less deadly, so far. What makes Swine Flu more scary is that the people that have died, some of them have been in the prime of life and should have been able to fight the flu off. Plus, we have no vaccine for this strand.
However, we just don’t know very much about this. One local news agency reported that this flu strain may not be that strong. I have heard all kinds of rumors, one person said they had heard that this strain of flu was around last year but no one knew it. They said that explained how the normal flu shots had little effect on flu season last year.
Now, we could know a lot more tomorrow, but we don’t know now. With no current cases in Orlando (One girl apparently had it here, but has gone home and not even her immediate family caught it), and still so much not known, I agree that we should be aware, but keep doing our normal thing at church. Recently Leonard Sweet tweeted, “Has a pig made us into a no-touch church? Jesus didn’t just heal lepers. He touched them.”
Jesus hung out with lepers and we are afraid to shake hands? I think we should be smart, but not overreact.
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