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Editorial: Reopen with an abundance of caution, compassion

Several states are relaxing their shelter-in-place restrictions. Some smaller congregations have begun meeting again. Most larger churches believe it’s not yet time. 

And many church members, especially the elderly and immunocompromised, believe it will be some time before they feel comfortable enough to return to in-person worship services.

The architecture of many of our buildings simply is not conducive to social distancing. We have seen some recommendations from churches that plan to rope off every other pew, to put tape on floors to space out congregants in the lobby, to make traffic in certain hallways flow in one direction. These are good recommendations. Look for more on how congregations are managing the changes in The Christian Chronicle in the months to come.

Meanwhile, perhaps the best use of this space is to advocate for tolerance. That’s something we’re not seeing much in our exchanges on social media. Instead, we’re seeing phrases like: “We should reopen everything. If you’re scared, just don’t go out.” 

Followers of Jesus should never, ever say such things. Or share such things. Or “like” such things on Facebook. 

Nor should we refer to those who advocate reopening as “idiotic” or “reckless.” The economic toll of this pandemic is real, and it will affect millions of lives for months and maybe even years to come. We all need to practice compassion.

Most of all, brothers and sisters, please, please stop repeating and reposting rumors, conspiracy theories and outright lies about this pandemic. It’s killing our witness to the outside world —  especially to younger generations. 

Paul urged Christians in Ephesus to no longer behave like children, “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error” (Ephesians 4:14). 

Let’s follow Paul’s example.

Filed under: advice for reopening Churches of Christ Coronavirus covid COVID-19 Editorial Opinion reopen Top Stories

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