Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mercy Ministry in a Pandemic

In an ironic turn of events, I was reading the Globe and Mail Focus Section (March 4, 2007, F9) on the way back from our Presbytery meeting in Agassiz, BC. While I was away, all four of my sons were "protein spilling" from both ends while my dear wife was holding down the fort and running endless loads of laundry. I was on the wrong side of the Rockies, doing "important" business. Who would dare to help my wife while the bug ravaged our home? Our dear friend Ina. She is our mercy ministry, landscaper, great friend, elder's wife extraordinaire. She braved the bug and brought Pedialyte, soup and salad for my crew and their presiding angel, Writer Mom.

Globe reporter, Ellen Himmelfarb asks this question: "You're on call during big break-ups and breakdowns. And you never hesitate to drop off Aspirin or chicken soup. But would you risk your life for a friend or neighbour in need? In the event of a flu pandemic, that's just what the British health service is counting on."

In the article, we are urged to find a "bird flu buddy." Health officials are entirely realistic that thousands would die before they could make it to health care facilities. Natural friendship networks would be the quickest delivery systems for Tamiflu and other medications. This is a sobering call for the Church to consider how she would care for her members and her neighbours. Here is a list of questions for deacons and mercy ministry types?

  • Does our church have a quick plan for contacting members?
  • Do any of our prayer chains or announcement networks have the ability to mobilize into concrete local actions?
  • Could we organize into parishes with an elder and deacon overseeing their geographical area of the city? Our part of Boomtown, AB takes 30 minutes to get from one side to the other. Our officers are located on the Western and Eastern extremes of this boundary. The middle or "mushpot" is represented by mercy types who have the heart but perhaps not the flexibility or physcial strength to muster and deliver resources.
  • Can we really depend on our overtaxed medical systems?
  • Are we approaching a situation akin to the Early and Medieval church where Christians took care of their own and the pagans too?
“For it is disgraceful when no Jew is a beggar and the impious Galileans [the name given by Julian to Christians] support our poor in addition to their own;" -Julian the Apostate, 360 AD

1 comment:

pilgrim said...

Well it may seem like an eastern extreme to you from where you sit, but I'm more central...

And I did answer your question...

but it's worth thinking about.