FUMCCV Friends and Family,
With the recent news of COVID-19 in the United States, we wanted to take a moment to provide comfort and encouragement. Anxiety thrives on uncertainty, and as the coronavirus spreads, our unanswered questions can make us feel vulnerable or fearful. “Will it come to my community?” or “Am I at risk?’ The U.S. public health system as a whole, has largely held up to many of the most dire global outbreaks in recent years, including SARS, Zika, H1N1 and Ebola.
The basics here have not changed. “Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands” remains good advice. The most effective things we can do to stay healthy are to cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands with soap thoroughly and frequently, and stay away from people showing symptoms. 
Bishop Grant Hagiya sent out a message to church leaders last week, and we thought it would be prudent to share with you here as well.
Bishop Hagiya’s Message on Public Health
We have all been consumed by the rapid spread of the Coronavirus and its growing implications for our daily lives. We cannot downplay the importance of being prepared and not reacting with panic or fear.
As a spiritual body, we need to remember that fear turns people toward sin. Anytime we scapegoat a certain people (e.g. Asians where the virus seemed to originate), we are guilty of practicing such sin. Our response to victims should not be ostracizing and shunning them, but it should be to have compassion and care for them.
As the California-Pacific Conference, we are looking into a number of different scenarios as well as our options in response. Personally, I believe we should follow the old adage: “Expect the best, prepare for the worse.” Part of our preparation has been talking with our own Disaster Response Team, one of the best in the nation.
For now, please consider following the advice in general being given by our own American medical authorities:
  • Seek immediate medical intervention if you develop flu like symptoms
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well, and especially if you are coughing
  • Wash your hands on a regular basis and use hand sanitizers as an alternative
  • Sanitize those areas with which you have a lot of contact
Most importantly as people of faith, let us pray for those who have contracted the virus and for our worldwide population that the virus will be contained. Let us turn to our God in faith and let us not succumb to our fears and anxieties.
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church
Here’s what we are doing at FUMCCV to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses:
  • Elbow bumps or other non-physical greetings during the passing of the peace
  • Increased availability of hand sanitizer in common places – narthex, entrance to Fellowship Hall, church office, etc.
  • Increased signage about appropriate hand washing procedures.
  • Thorough cleaning of common spaces, including worship spaces, using disinfectant cleaner.
If you would like more information about the coronavirus, you can check out the CDC website. We pray that we are able to surrender our fears and anxieties to God during this season of Lent and beyond.
First United Methodist Church of Chula Vista