COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus
Here is our church's response with the COVID-19 resources.
Our church's response in principle:
"When we do all we can on our part to have health, then may we expect that the blessed results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts for the preservation of health. ... Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power--these are the true remedies." My Life Today, pp. 134, 135. We find safety when we boost our immune system according to God's plan.
While we follow requirements (laws, executive orders, etc.), we consider guidelines in the context of the most current scientific facts as applied to the way the disease has effected our local area.
Concerning science, we distinguish between hypothesis and thesis. Sometimes unproven theories, hypothesis, are published in the media as fact. A hypothesis is not a fact until the scientific method and testing have been implemented in a peer-reviewed setting. Peer-reviewed scientific studies are the standard we follow.
Since we choose to follow biblical counsel, scientific facts, and common sense (Isaiah 1:18), we have no reason to fear. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV.
Our church's response in practice:
All Sabbath School divisions, including the children and youth are open.
If you have a cough, fever over 100.4, shortness of breath, or had unprotected contact with anyone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, please stay home.
If you feel that your health would be compromised by attending a service at the church, please stay home.
For those who wish to come, the church will be open. We have two church services. One with masks required. One with masks optional.
Additionally, further safety practices have been implemented.
Our church leadership found the following article to be the best reasoned short and long term response to COVID-19. Accordingly, our churches response will be modified as the condition evolves.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 resource page
Tennessee Department of Health COVID-19 resource page, Critical Indicator Report, County Data Snapshot (very helpful when viewed by county). COVID-19 hotline: (877) 857-2945 or (833) 556-2476. Hotline available Monday through Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm. East Tennessee Regional Health office hotline (865) 549-5343 Monday through Friday 8am-4:30pm.
Tennessee Governor's Executive Orders. The Governor's Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives reopening guidelines.
Hamblen County Mayor's Executive Orders (under Meetings, Events and Notifications), Health Department and COVID-19 resource page; Grainger County Health Department (865) 828-5247; Jefferson County Health Department (865) 397-3930
Georgia-Cumberland Conference guidelines
The best, well-reasoned approach: "Should Your Church Stop Meeting to Slow COVID-19? How 3 Seattle Churches Decided."
A free, downloadable book, Why We Stay Home: Suzie Learns about Coronavirus, that teaches young children about COVID-19.