UMC, Conference Monitor H1N1 Flu

May 01, 2009

Bishop Palmer Urges Common Sense Precautions


Leadership of The United Methodist Church and the California-Nevada Annual Conference are monitoring the outbreak of H1N1 Flu, commonly known as "Swine flu."


Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, President of the Council of Bishops, today expressed pastoral concern for all persons throughout the world who are affected by the virus, and particularly for the families of those who have died from it.


"We pray to God to bring healing to our brothers and sisters who battle the effects of the H1N1 virus, and pray that God will extend His mighty hand to protect persons in its path," said Palmer.


According to the World Health Organization, 11 countries have officially reported 331 cases of H1N1 infection as of May 1, with 10 deaths.


Palmer urged United Methodists to follow recommended health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments, including common sense precautions: good hand washing practices, avoiding contact with those who are ill, staying home when sick, and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.


Palmer noted that the General Board of Discipleship has a resource for congregations on its website, pertaining to Holy Communion and good hygiene to reduce the possibility of spreading illness. Most United Methodist churches will celebrate Holy Communion this weekend as the first Sunday of the month.


The United Methodist Committee on Relief also has suggestions for preventing the spread of illness, on its website.


Conference and General Church leadership will continue to evaluate whether additional steps are warranted, and the Conference Crisis Management Team will meet next week to review the stages of response that could be required if the situation worsens.


Watch for updates in the Instant Connection on the Conference website at