Elders Message on Covid-19

Dear Heritage Church Family,

While we are continuing to gather and enjoy worship and fellowship as a local congregation, we want you to be aware of some precautions we are taking in light of the potential spread of the Coronavirus. We are monitoring the situation and being guided by the best local advice we can access. Part of the godly response to this crisis is wise precaution. In order to keep gathering on Sundays, and "to love your neighbour as yourself" (and in adherence to God's 6th Commandment to preserve our own life and the lives of all God’s image-bearers), here is our counsel:

1. Wash your hands often, using soap. Take care to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds a time with soap and water. Try to not touch your face especially your mouth, nose and eyes.
2. Know the symptoms of Covid19 infection and observe your loved ones for signs of illness – fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath. If you or your children or anyone in your household show any signs of sickness, better that you stay home to avoid infecting others. The elderly are at higher health risk. If you have a pre-existing health condition or are over 60 years of age, be extra careful. Do not feel conscience bound to attend the large church gatherings. The recordings of the messages will be available quickly on the website, and we are working on a streaming video option.
3. Avoid physical contact (e.g. shaking hands, hugging, kissing). Keep a safe ‘social distance’ between people when interacting. We are a friendly congregation so it might feel awkward at first. Let’s use encouraging words to greet each other. Don’t be offended if someone refuses to shake your hand or give you a hug. It’s OK.
4. We are working on having hand sanitisers at the entrance of each room, and these will hopefully be in place shortly (There is a shortage at the moment). We are also conscious that washing hands is more effective than using a hand sanitiser but as an extra option we want to include them.
5. Please don’t cough or sneeze into the air, even if you’re turning away from someone. Cough into a tissue or into your elbow.

We’re not panicking, and we are confident in the goodness of God, but we do want to protect the vulnerable and be sensible in our behaviour so that our church context on Sundays can be as worry-free and as normal as possible. We want to worship God and enjoy each other's company.

South Africa has not imposed travel restrictions yet. However, it has been advised that all non-essential travel should be reconsidered.

If traveling from a country with high transmission rates, it is recommended that you self-isolate for at least 14 days, resorting to temporary Christian fellowship by phone or internet. If you do develop symptoms, please:

a. Seek help from a healthcare professional and take their advice (better to call ahead to inform the doctor of your symptoms, not just present yourself at a healthcare facility).
b. Contact the NICD hotline on 0800 029 999. If needed, the health team will come to your home for assessment and testing. Learn more here: www.nicd.ac.za

Please let the church staff know if you have any other questions or as needs arise.

Yours in Christ,

The Heritage Elders