Press Statements and Articles

[NECF] How to handle the Covid-19 Outbreak (Guidelines to Churches - ver2)

The WHO recently (on 11 March, 2020) reclassified the Covid-19 outbreak as pandemic. In the light of recent developments, NECF would like to share the following updated Guidelines to Churches. These are in line with Government guidelines and other best practices.
 
One is for the congregation at large whilst the other is for church staff and workers.  
 
A. Congregation at Large
 
In the spirit of love and concern for each other, the church requests that congregation members observe the following:

  • Those who have travelled to China, Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy and Denmark should  observe a self-imposed quarantine of 14 days.
  • Those who have been in close contact with infected persons are encouraged to seek guidance from your respective Human Resource (HR) and to work from home if advised to do so. A similar leave of absence of 14 days is also encouraged.
  • Those exhibiting symptoms of flu, fever, or cough with breathing difficulties, headaches or body aches should seek immediate medical treatment and stay home as advised by doctors.
  • Personal hygiene is of paramount importance, such as washing your hands regularly.
  • Whilst in church, minimize bodily contact with each other for this season, including but not limited to shaking of hands.
  • Prayers at altar calls should be limited to group prayers.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Tissues should be thrown into the rubbish bin and hands that handled them be immediately washed or sanitized.
  • Face masks and hand sanitizers should be available during church services.

 B. Church Staff and Workers

  • Please make available face masks and hand sanitizers in common areas (subject to availability). 
  • All equipment should be sanitized after use. 
  • Use paper towels instead of cloth towels in toilets. Hand wash should be placed at all wash basins. 
  • All toilet and cafeteria facilities should be cleaned regularly with disinfectants. 
  • Ensure all meeting halls are well ventilated and floors moped with disinfectants. 
  • All personnel handling the holy communion should wash their hands before preparing them. 
  • When serving the holy communion, consider using prepacked elements. 
  • The following may be necessary:
    • Temperature/health checks services be provided at the service venues, wherever possible.
    • Kindly advise anyone with symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose to go home and rest as well as to seek medical attention. If the temperature recorded is higher than 37.5°C, members should be advised to avoid attending public events, including cell meetings, and Sunday services.
    • The use of infrared thermometers may be necessary to implement the above.
    • All ushers and workers serving food and the holy communion would be required to wear face masks.
  • Sunday services and ministry activities should continue as usual in the meantime, especially if the congregation size is less than 250.
  • Holding multiple services for gatherings larger than 250 people should be considered with the aim to bring down the number to less than 250 people per service.
  • Churches wishing to live stream their services may find the attached technical suggestions helpful. See appendices

 This is a wonderful season to be salt and light to the nation. Let us remember He has not given us a spirit of fear ( 2 Tim1:7 ). May our good Lord help the Church in Malaysia rise up to defeat fear and inspire hope.
 
Meanwhile, we encourage all to return to the house of prayer as we seek to be a good testimony by walking in faith rather than fear.
 
Rev Andy Chi
Secretary General, NECF.
 


Appendices

  1. Technical guidelines on how to set up live streaming in church
  2. Tips on what to do when doing hospital visitations
    1. Bring along a face mask and use it if necessary especially in crowded situations.
    2. Try to keep your hands close to your body and avoid using / touching handrails, elevator sides or walls as much as possible.
    3. Try to use the tip of a ball point pen to press elevator buttons. Cap the tip after that and if possible do not use it as your regular pen.
    4. Make hand tissues readily available and use them to open doors and discard them after use.
    5. Try to avoid touching your face with your hands
    6. Praying for patients - to touch or not to needs much wisdom. Whichever way you do, use the hand sanitizers liberally after visiting a patient and leaving the hospital ward.

 As pastors and believers we are called to minister to those in need and hospital visitation is part and parcel of pastoral ministry that we cannot avoid doing.



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