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| There is clear historic precedence for the Church playing a major role in wide-scale epidemic disease and pandemics... read more |
| Pastors will likely face three main concerns during an influenza pandemic: |
1. How to continue pastoring when people don't really want to mingle in large groups (business continuity);
2. How to equip their members for self-care (member care); and
3. How to serve their neighbouring communities (community service).
While schools and businesses have important roles to play in this regard, churches are especially well positioned to translate pandemic preparedness plans into a meaningful response at the most local of levels.
Two characteristics of churches, particularly, make this so: church networks are broad (denominational and interdenominational networks span the country) and deep (the majority of churches have multiple community-based cell-groups); and Christian churches have built into them the double mandate of both loving God and also caring for their neighbours.
The most effective community-based response will likely come through existing and newly established mutual assistance groups in that cell groups are small (efficient), local (relevant), independent (resilient) yet connected (informed).
Authoritative, timely, relevant situation updates could be readily disseminated to such cell group networks, as could be recommendations for self care. A program dedicated to the training of trainers for further multiplication of such cell-groups needs to be a core focus for planners.
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, Nov 10 2007, 9:55 PM EST
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