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Presbyterian Disaster Assistance releases pandemic preparedness guide


Common-sense tips for congregations and individuals during the coronavirus outbreak

By Mari Graham Evans| Presbyterian News Service


LOUISVILLE — In light of the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, more commonly known as the coronavirus, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has released a “Preparedness for Pandemics” guide for congregations.

The guide contains valuable, common-sense tips on what congregations and individuals can do to keep themselves safe in the midst of a “severe infectious disease outbreak.”

According to the guide, congregations can take simple precautions like creating a task force that is in charge of coordinating a response within the congregation and the surrounding community. Congregations are also urged to ask members who are sick to stay home, have alcohol-based hand sanitizers (containing at least 60% alcohol) in or around bathrooms and pay increased attention to cleaning overall.

“It is important for faith leaders to proactively model protective health practices in congregational life, resist and renounce the racism and xenophobia at this virus’ geographic point of emergence, and make sensible plans to support vulnerable and isolated members of their community,” said the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, PDA’s director.

Kraus added that congregations should also consider alternative ways for the congregation to come together in case regular services need to be suspended.

For congregations interested in holding virtual Sunday services, the guide provides suggestions. For example, congregations may consider using video conferencing services like Zoom, livestream through YouTube or Facebook, or post sermons online to their church’s website or social media channels. (Additional questions about the use of social media or other digital platforms can be directed to

During what can be a frightening time for many, PDA encourages congregations to remain as calm as possible and to follow common-sense measures to keep their communities safe.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance serves as the emergency and refugee program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Their responses to emergencies are made possible thanks to your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing. Learn more at

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