Pastor Glenn Townend, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific, issued the following statement regarding the ongoing spread of the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world.
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, we are also seeing a rise in fear and anxiety. This was evident in Australia last week when we saw panic-buying of items like canned food, toilet paper and rice. The world is clearly in a state of flux.
So how should Seventh-day Adventists in the South Pacific respond? I would urge you to focus on three things:
- Prayer: pray for the families who have lost loves ones to this virus and for those who are currently suffering with it; pray for our governments as they grapple with this issue, and for our health workers who are on the frontline treating those affected; pray for the health and safety of our communities, and for the Lord’s intervention to stop the spread of the virus.
- Show Christ-like love and compassion: let’s look beyond ourselves and respond to the needs and concerns of others, especially the elderly and vulnerable. It’s sad to see that some ethnic groups have suffered racial abuse because of the virus. This is never acceptable. Let’s look out for the needs of others (Philippians 2:1-4).
- Good hygiene: take sensible precautions like regular handwashing and follow the advice from your local health authority.
As this situation continues to evolve, let’s maintain a sense of perspective and not get caught up in the hysteria. As Seventh-day Adventist Christians, let’s be beacons of light in our communities, holding fast to God’s promises and pointing people to Jesus as our source of hope in these troubling times.