My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Grace and Peace be unto you.
As we remain focused on our goals and the pursuit of wholeness, 2020 has not been without its challenges. The World Health Organization has labeled the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) a pandemic. Reports issued on Sunday, March 15 indicated 150,000 cases across 135 Countries and over 5,000 deaths as a result of the virus. There has been a significant increase in cases since then. The Bahamas reported its first documented case on March 15; as a result, all schools in the Bahamas will remain closed until April 14th.
Events have been cancelled, including PNBC’s Eastern Region meeting; as we monitor the situation, an official statement will be made regarding upcoming regional meetings. Schools and businesses have closed, and many churches have been forced to close their doors to remain in compliance with instructions to avoid large gatherings. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends the cancellation of events with 50 or more people until mid-May throughout the US. More recently, there are talks of a national shutdown; these are indeed trying times.
Even in times of dire concern and uncertainty, we take comfort in knowing that God has not given us a spirit of fear. As people of great faith, we must always turn to prayer and employ wisdom and best practices. In this technological age, when so much information is being shared, it is important to arm oneself with the facts.
Coronavirus has “high infectivity but low mortality”; it is significantly less severe than 2003 SARS (MR: 10%) or 2012 MERS (MR: 35%) outbreaks. Most individuals that contract the disease are expected to recover. Risk of death is only higher in older people above an age of 60 years and people with pre-existing health conditions. Remain vigilant!
I encourage you to follow the advice of health professionals who strongly recommend the practice of social distancing to avoid close contact in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
As we pray for divine protection and for one another, we must continue to educate ourselves and share relevant information with our congregations and ensure that we take the necessary precautions including:
- Research & knowledge of the facts
- Be prepared: purchase recommended medication, fill prescriptions & purchase cleaning and food supplies
- Stay at home when sick
- Practice social distancing & avoid close contact with others
- Always have sanitizer, wipes etc.
- Frequent proper washing of hands (20 seconds or more)
- Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary
- Sneeze/cough into your arm etc.
Links with additional information are provided on our PNBC website. A time and date for updates and corporate prayer via conference call will be set. Effective March 18, 2020, PNBC Headquarters will close and reopen on Monday, April 6, 2020 unless instructed otherwise by federal mandate; staff will continue to work on special projects remotely until further notice. We continue to cover them in prayer and thank them for their unwavering commitment and dedication; we ask for your patience and consideration as they handle the overwhelming amount of calls and e mails at this time.
My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family, our beloved convention, staff at headquarters, and our Global village. For additional information about COVID-19 and updates regarding regional meetings and our annual session, visit www.pnbc.org. Please remain connected through PNBC’s various social media platforms and our website. If you do not receive e mails or text messages from PNBC, please register online today!
May God continue to bless and keep you as we navigate through these challenging times with wisdom and great faith.
Yours in Christ,
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc