• EFI STATEMENT AND ADVISORY ON COVID-19

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    Covid19

     

    14 March 2020

     

    EFI STATEMENT AND ADVISORY ON COVID-19

    In the wake of the COVID-19 situation, the Evangelical Fellowship of India calls on its member churches, organizations and individuals to escalate their efforts in playing an active role in curbing the spread of the contagious virus. We call on congregations to promote, instruct and endorse the health advisories published by the Government of India, State Governments, the World Health Organization and other healthcare organizations at national and local levels.

    We also call on churches across the denominational spectrum to cancel or postpone all public gatherings like retreats, seminars, conferences, conventions, etc. up to an indefinite period. It may also be wise in the prevailing conditions to exercise precaution while gathering for the regular Sunday worship services or even house meetings during the Lenten season. A safe distance between individuals in the congregation and the use of alcohol-based disinfectants/sanitizers/soap as per government guidelines would be a prudent measure. Many churches have taken practical steps in offering the communion only on the palm and church members have been asked to clean their hands with sanitizers before accepting the communion. All churches in the evangelical constituency may explore these and other measures - avoiding handshakes, hugs, passing of the peace, etc. - to exercise caution and care.

    EFI also condemns any form of racist, xenophobic or geographical connotation to the spread of the virus. It is shocking and disheartening to learn that people belonging to the North-Eastern region of the country were faced with hatred and ire in other parts of the country, linking them to the spread of the virus. It goes beyond doubt to say that the virus knows no geographical or racial boundaries. We all must deal with it as one society.

    The Lord Jesus warned us in the Sermon on the Mount that we must desist from judging. Many Christian families have chosen to avoid church services or weekly gatherings to protect themselves and their loved ones. As the Body of Christ, we are called to be slow to judge and respond with empathy and care towards each other.

    The one theme in the Bible that resonates throughout its pages is the phrase "Fear not." In these trying times when panic and hysteria can set in, we call on Christians to find strength in God's promises. We pray that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our thoughts in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

    God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46)

    As people of God, we are called to view the crisis as an opportunity to serve sacrificially. Christians often have been the first to help in a crisis and the last to leave. Let us be bearers of hope and pray for the end of this pandemic. Let us be a non-anxious presence and show the difference that Jesus makes in the face of crisis. And may our hope and love be contagious.

    Released by:

    Rev. Vijayesh Lal

    General Secretary - EFI

    GOD IS THE SUPREME HEALER

    He calls upon us to act with Wisdom in times of trial and tribulations. The COVID-19 pandemic is one such, the worst in recent ages. Science now knows how it is spread, and precautions that can minimize or even limit its spread till its threat is totally removed.

    The Evangelical Fellowship of India calls upon churches to accelerate their efforts in helping curb the spread of the contagion.

    We call on churches, congregations and believers to promote, instruct and endorse the health advisories published by the Government of India, State Governments, the World Health Organization and other healthcare organizations at the international, national and local levels.

    Most churches across the denominational spectrum have cancelled or postponed all scheduled public gatherings such retreats, seminars, conferences, conventions, for an indefinite period. Sunday worships have been suitably modified during Lenten season.

    A safe distance between individuals in the congregation and the use of alcohol-based disinfectants/sanitizers/soap as per government guidelines is a prudent measure. Many churches have taken practical steps in offering the communion only on the palm of the hand. Worshippers are asked to clean their hands with sanitizers before accepting the communion.

    All churches in the evangelical constituency may explore these and other measures - avoiding handshakes, hugs, passing of Peace by a folding of the palms of the hand.

    EFI condemns all forms of racist, xenophobic or geographical connotations that have found their way into social media.  to the spread of the virus. We are shocked, and ashamed, that some in our country have humiliated and intimidated our own brothers and sisters from the north eastern states in the context of COVID-19. This slur is un-Christian. It is also a criminal offence.

    Jesus Christ, our Lord, warned us in the Sermon on the Mount to desist from judging. As the Body of Christ, we are called to be slow to judge and respond with empathy and care towards each other.

    The Bible resonates throughout its pages with the phrase "Fear not." That is true for the Ages. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46)

    As people of God we are called to view this crisis as an opportunity to serve sacrificially. Let us be bearers of hope. Let us be a non-anxious presence and show the difference that Jesus makes our lives in the face of crisis.

    And pray, as is said in Philippians 4:7, that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard the hearts and thoughts of all the people of our nation.

    Rev. Vijayesh Lal

    General Secretary

    Evangelical Fellowship of India