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03/20/2020 03:50
Churches can counter 'epidemic of fear' over coronavirus with acts of love

The founder of HOPE Together, Roy Crowne, is asking churches to "step up" and serve their communities with acts of love during the coronavirus outbreak. 

With an "epidemic of fear" towards the pandemic, churches have an important role to play in supporting their communities," he said. 

HOPE Together has created a free downloadable postcard for churches and individuals to print off and hand out around their communities to let people know that they are available to help. 

Over the coming weeks, HOPE Together will be posting a series of 'Reasons for Hope' and ideas to 'Help bring Hope' on its FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages.  Its social media followers are being encouraged to repost the series "to help counter fear with offers of help and hope".

"Here at HOPE Together, we are praying that churches step up to serve local communities with practical action and words of hope," said Crowne. 

Crowne said that churches should be "distinctive" in their response to the pandemic, while also taking the necessary hygiene precautions, particularly when preparing cards for delivery, in order to make sure "you are spreading only kindness as you post through letterboxes".

He is encouraging churches to set up or support existing Good Neighbours schemes, or consider launching a helpline manned by volunteers who would otherwise have been serving in chaplaincy or ministry but are unable to do so because of the restrictions on movement. 

With churches moving online, Crowne said it was important that they take steps to include those who do not have access to the internet or who are not confident in using it. 

Other suggestions include establishing prayer relays or 'phone a friend' campaigns, supporting local food banks, and contacting residential care homes with offers to write letters or phone residents cut off from visitors.

In addition to streaming services, churches can use the Discover Bible App, which can be used to study the Bible in virtual groups.

"Coronavirus is spreading an epidemic of fear though our country. As churches we want to counter fear with practical love and service, and we want to be prepared to give the reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15)," said Crowne. 

He added: "As churches let's be communities that spread hope, generosity and gratitude." 

Source: christiantoday.com

Churches can counter 'epidemic of fear' over coronavirus with acts of loveWith an "epidemic of fear" towards the pandemic, churches have an important role to play in supporting their communities," he said.  HOPE Together has d a  free downloadable postcard  for churches and individuals to print off and hand out around their
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