Our Initial Response to COVID-19

Posted on Sat, Mar 14, 2020:

Greetings, Saints!

Those who know me can attest that I am seldom one to act, or react, spontaneously to anything.  I tend to be very methodical or deliberate in most things I do.  I have tried to take this truth about me and apply this to how I believe we should respond to the current health situation we are in.

Today, our world is moving through a pandemic unlike any we’ve seen recently.  Even with the SARS, Zika and Ebola outbreaks, those were fairly contained.  COVID-19 or the corona virus has presented an impact to our way of life that is different than many of seen in recent times.

Now, while I firmly believe one major contributing factor to the anxiety, and in some cases panic, we see in many around us is the heightened media coverage, there is no getting around that wealth of facts that exist and that they are a cause for concern.  They are also a call to all of us to reconsider our regular patterns of behavior.

I want to be clear … I do not, nor will I ever, condone responding to anything in fear.  We are people of faith.  This doesn’t mean we don’t response to health concerns that arise in our communities but it does mean we tend to respond differently.

I have sought the counsel of many about what to do as it pertains to Calvary Tabernacle Church of God in St. James, the church I have been privileged to pastor since last July.  I want to walk in faith and in wisdom and am not willing to sacrifice either … since I believe they are not in conflict with one another.  I’ve also been monitoring local governmental agencies for information regarding this virus, specifically information from Suffolk County and the Town of Smithtown.

With all this said, here is where I have landed.

All the best Christian advice I have read and heard tell me that for gatherings of under 100, we are okay to meet as long as we adhere to some specific precautions and guidelines.  I have already been contacted by many asking if we will meet tomorrow – March 15th.  The answer is … we will meet at our regular time of 10am.

However, it will not be a usual Sunday morning at Calvary in St. James.

Again, I believe these actions are being implemented out of love rather than out of fear.  I would never want to be the cause of someone I love and care for deeply contracting any disease.  Especially those who have challenged or compromised immune or respiratory systems.  Just because I may be outside the age demographic that is the greatest concern doesn’t mean I won’t contract the virus.  It would just mean I would and have very mild symptoms.  But getting the virus means I could be a carrier to someone else until I show symptoms.  Out of love, I want to do what I can minimize them being ill as well as myself.

Some will say, “well, then why meet at all?”  A fair question.  Simply, gathering for times of worship and the Word are vital and staple parts of who we are as Christians.  And, as I have said previously, all the advice and counsel I have gained have indicated that meetings of less than 100, with the proper precautions taken, are encouraged to continue.  This is one of those times we can be glad we’re a small church!

As for other schedule meetings, I’ll discuss them tomorrow in church.  For now, know that we WILL meet tomorrow, 10am, as usual.

We need to continue to prayer for our world, for those areas that are still under severe conditions related to this virus (like in Italy).  We need to pray for our nation, that our leaders simply do the right thing and not allow politics to become an obstacle to doing what is best for all of us.  This is a time to seek solutions – not point fingers of blame or seek credit.

Let’s also pray for all those in our circles of influence that may have contracted this virus.  According to the Town of Smithtown’s website, there are 3 confirmed cases of individuals testing positive for this virus.  So, this is not something that is out there somewhere.  COVID-19 is here!

My friends - we will be wise!  We will be loving!  We will be faith driven.  And, Lord willing, we will meet tomorrow at 10am.  See you then!


Pastor Hiram Claudio


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