Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brethren staff ready a denominational response in the event of a flu pandemic.

Church of the Brethren staff are readying a denominational response in the event of a flu pandemic in the United States and Puerto Rico. The denominational staff have been alert to the eventuality of a flu pandemic since initial warnings about avian flu were issued several years ago.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is monitoring the progress of the current flu outbreak and is forwarding information pertinent to Brethren congregations and members (see resources listed below).

The staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries have kept up-to-date on information from health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and information shared through ecumenical partners such as Church World Service. CWS staff continue to monitor the spread of the flu as well, and CWS Emergency Response personnel are engaged in regular briefings by the CDC in the event the disaster response community needs to become further involved.

The Church of the Brethren’s communications staff already have crisis communications plans in the event of a pandemic, and staff will provide information about the flu outbreak through Newsline, e-mail communications to congregations and districts, and online tools at on a page dedicated to flu resources.

An online form at (go to ) has been created to facilitate communication across the denomination in the event that churches must cancel worship services or gatherings. Leaders of congregations and districts will be invited to use the survey form to post news from their churches, to share requests for prayer, and to offer other information to the denomination during a flu crisis.

The Caring Ministries staff is offering a resource to aid pastors and deacons in dealing with anxiety and fears among congregations about the flu outbreak (see article below). This resource will be available at as well, and will be e-mailed to those on the Caring Ministries list serves.

In addition, a document giving suggestions for how Church of the Brethren congregations may continue to carry out ministry during a flu pandemic is being prepared for use by congregational and district leaders. The document will be distributed within the next day or two to congregations and district offices by e-mail, and will be posted at

For more information about the denominational response in the event of a flu pandemic, contact Roy Winter, Executive Director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, at or 800-451-4407; or Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, Director of News Services, at or 800-323-8039 ext. 260.

Source: 4/30/2009 Newsline Extra

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