You are reading a post in the mini-series entitled “When Churches Reopen” which I decided to write when I began seeing that some churches around the world were beginning to reopen. In reading some announcements I began noticing that a lot of them were forgetting a few things. This post focuses on the physically vulnerable.
As someone diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I felt keenly the fact that I rarely saw any mention or call to action for those with weak immune systems. This happens a lot, and most people with any health problems know to take extra precautions during this time, but I still feel that it would be nice to at least be addressed in some way.
Here are a few ways you can take care of us.
You Can Request They Not Begin Attending Yet
Your church can express care and concern for those with weaker immune systems, those who are medically fragile, and the elderly and request that they do not begin attending yet for their safety.
Leaders should carry the weight of responsibility for their people and make decisions that they feel to be the most responsible even if it’s not easy.
It isn’t easy for leaders, to be in charge of the care of all of the church members, and I completely understand if I was asked not attend church, yet.
You Can Make Accommodations If They Do Begin Attending
Your church can ask that everyone be especially careful with these members of the church when / if they attend.
This might mean they need more accommodations such as being seated even farther apart or maintaining an even greater distance from everyone else. They could even be asked to identify themselves, alerting everyone around them that they need to be more careful with them.
Once again, leaders have a lot to think about, so they may be unaware of every single member who has a weaker immune system or is medically fragile.
You Can Be Very Clear About What Reopening Looks Like
I see some churches saying they will be following their state / region’s guidelines. Some saying vaguely that they will all wear masks. Others saying they will be resuming services normally. Many churches state the number of people allowed to attend. And quite a few churches gave a detailed example of how to arrive at church wearing gloves and masks and how to remain six feet apart.
But one church stood out to me because it had the full service mapped out step by step. It told you everything from what to do once you arrived in the parking lot, to what to do after the service ended. And it stated that once seated, everyone would take off their masks.
As someone more vulnerable health-wise, this was really good information to know beforehand because if I had decided to attend said church, I can imagine the panic I would have felt as masks were being removed.
So please be clear, truthful, and extremely detailed. Especially for those of us who have to be so much more careful with our health.
You Can Offer Assistance To The Physically Vulnerable
For those of us with weak immune systems, the whole world outside our homes is dangerous, even scary. This makes doing anything outside the house hard for us.
Can your church offer assistance to those made vulnerable by their health?
- Maybe they need to take their car to the mechanic or they need gas. You can offer to take their car for them.
- Maybe they depend upon public transportation, and you can offer to give them rides, exposing them to less people and risks.
- Offer to go grocery shopping for them.
- Maybe they don’t have a washer and dryer and they need their laundry done at a laundromat. You can offer to let them do laundry at your house. Or you can take it to the laundromat for them.
- Maybe they rely on free public internet WIFI. You can offer to let them come use WIFI at your house, even just by parking in your driveway.
- Maybe they need someone to go to the post office for them.
- Maybe they can no longer work and they are struggling financially and you can help pay their bills.
- Maybe they have been unable to get masks and you can offer any extra you may have.
There are so many things that people rely on outside of the house. I live at home so the healthy members of my family have helped me. But not everyone has that and I can only imagine how difficult my life would be right now without them.
These are just a few ideas for churches to think about. The point is to think about these people as churches reopen. As the Church, it is our job to love one another, and that includes taking care of the physically vulnerable.
What would you add to these points? What is your church doing to help and protect the physically vulnerable? I’d love to hear all about it!