Martin Charlesworth
Coronavirus pandemic – a call to action

Coronavirus pandemic – a call to action from Jubilee+

In the past few weeks the world has been engulfed by a wholly unexpected public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Events are moving very fast. There are huge implications. The UK government is making very challenging choices. This crisis isn’t going to be over quickly and meanwhile most of us are having to face significant changes to the way we live.

At Jubilee+ we are focused on equipping churches. Our specific concern is the welfare of the most vulnerable in our society – in this case especially the poorest, those with underlying health issues, the elderly and those who have contracted Covid-19. Here are the four things we suggest that local churches and social activists prioritise:

PRAYER – for our nation. There is no limit to the possibilities of divine intervention in this crisis. It is often during crises that God moves in power in a society. This is a crisis. This is our opportunity to focus our attention on prayer.

PROTECTION – for the church. Church leaders will be making far-reaching decisions in terms of public meetings, church programmes, internal communications and providing pastoral support to needy church members.

PROACTIVE ENGAGEMENT – with public authorities. Churches should take the initiative in supporting and encouraging hard pressed local authorities, NHS services, police, social services, schools and others who will be facing unprecedented demands on their resources. Never underestimate the power of encouragement and offers of help, however small we think our capacities are.

PRACTICAL PROVISION – for the most vulnerable. This is the time for creative ideas. For example, foodbanks provide an ideal base for initiatives such as helping those who confine themselves to their homes through fear or self-isolation. Church members can also be on the front foot in local neighbourhood initiatives to help vulnerable neighbours.

Churches face great challenges, but also great opportunities. We need to rise above the palpable fear around us and act with courage and faith as we address the multiple challenges we face in the UK.

In the coming days and weeks we will be posting more about how the church can respond to the coronavirus crisis. Keep an eye on the website or our social media for updates, theological reflections, and practical suggestions.