Coronavirus Pandemic Update - 18th March 2020
The Salvation Army
United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland
Thank you for the positive feedback following yesterday’s first daily update. It is good to hear so many innovative ideas and initiatives starting across the territory. Unfortunately, a few people have the impression that the government and THQ have closed all corps buildings. This is not true. Salvation Army halls can remain open for the many opportunities to meet and serve people while still following the social distancing guidelines.
1. Pray: It has been encouraging to hear about many people praying at noon. If you mention this on social media please use the tag #handstogether. A National Day of Prayer and Action has been called by all the church leaders in the UK and Ireland this coming Sunday which is also Mothering Sunday. More details will be shared later this week. https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/20-march/news/uk/day-of-prayer-and-action-light-a-candle-say-church-leaders
Many corps are planning worship opportunities via online streaming and video messages. Please let Ann Stewart, the Internal Communications Manager, have links to resources from your corps (firstname.lastname@example.org). THQ is also developing plans for online resources – details will follow in due course.
2. Clean: The Salvation Army is following and promoting government public health advice. We are all learning a new vocabulary such as Coronavirus and ‘social distancing’. Public Health England – like other public health authorities across the territory – is providing clear, practical steps that we should all follow. Click here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people for a summary on social distancing advice. For specific guidance for households, employees, hostels, day centres, rough sleepers and many other groups of people search for the public health authorities in your area or visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance
3. Listen: The Territorial Operations Board met this morning. The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting every part of the territory and there are many, many questions. It is impossible to summarise all the information in this Daily Update. Emails on specific operational matters will be sent to Divisional Leaders, Service Heads and Senior Managers. They will cascade the information to people who need the information. By using this approach we will try to avoid overloading people with unnecessary information. If you have a question please direct it to your line manager in the first instance.
4. Act: The Salvation Army has been involved in high level discussions with governments across the territory exploring how we can play our part. It is anticipated that the pandemic will be with us for months and will require a massive effort from all parts of society.
The UK Government has asked the Voluntary, Community and Faith sector to play its part in providing practical ‘Flu Friends’ type support to those who will be isolated and vulnerable and have no support networks. Details are still sketchy but may involve low level practical support such as food shopping, collecting medicines, making regular phone calls to check on people in isolation and (from safe distances) ensuring that those deemed most at risk have someone who can support them and flag up any concerns.
There are already a number of local initiatives springing up but unfortunately there is a high risk of fraud with vulnerable people being exploited. Therefore, safe, trusted support is urgently needed. The UK Government are using the existing ‘Local Resilience Forums’ in every local authority – similar initiatives are likely in other nations. The Salvation Army will be part of this approach in coordination with other churches and faith groups. Please be very wary of approaches from other groups.
Finally, it is good to hear of people being innovative with Salvationist, War Cry and Kids Alive! Some corps still connect with people on the street while others are using the papers in pastoral ministry to initiate contact with people who are housebound. Let’s find creative ways to use all our resources!
Thank you for all your hard work as well as your prayers and words of encouragement. As my corps officer, Major Stewart Grinsted, said on Sunday, let’s all have a ‘contagious attitude of gratitude’.
God bless you and keep you,
Secretary for Communications