How One Pastor Is Keeping His Midwestern Church Safe from Covid-19
A team of epidemiologists rate a pastor’s safety measures for his staff and congregation
Wouldn’t it be nice, as you go about your confusing, nerve-wracking, coronavirus-avoiding days, to have an epidemiologist on call to answer your many questions? Consider the Covid Audit the next best thing. This project, a collaboration between Elemental and the Epidemiology Covid-19 Response Corps at the Boston University School of Public Health, asks real people to keep a diary about what they’re doing to avoid Covid-19 and gives friendly feedback from the Response Corps team on actions you can take to support public health — and your own.
This week’s reviewers are Leona M. Ofei, a graduate student in the Master of Public Health program at BUSPH, and Ellie Murray, ScD, MPH, an assistant professor of epidemiology at BUSPH.
Our diarist this time around is the 35-year-old lead pastor at a church with about 2,000 members in Missouri. We’ll hear a bit about the precautions he and his team have taken since the beginning of the pandemic, and then travel with him through a few days in September when he was helping to make some important decisions about church worship services.
The pastor’s pandemic precautions
“Though my wife and I have been careful and intentional about the level of contact we have with people, the majority of those around us have carried on as though not much has changed,” he says. “My wife’s parents both have preexisting conditions which could put them at risk, she works for the local school district and does not want to create a situation whereby teachers or staff have to quarantine because of her decisions, and I serve a staff of about 20 and a congregation of about 2,000, so I have not wanted to put our people at risk because of my actions or decisions.”
It is good to factor in all the people you come in contact with as both potential sources of exposure and potential people you could expose if you get infected, especially because you have high-risk family members. Many people seem to have this preconception that the only thing which determines if they…