Message from David Prest, Jr, 11/13/2020
Today both Governor Kate Brown of Oregon and Governor Brad Little of Idaho held press conferences, dealing with the increased rates of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. The information from each governor is attached and a link is listed below:
For the state of Oregon, a two week freeze goes into place on November 18, 2020. This does affect churches, as worship services are limited to 25 people indoors, 50 outdoors. Oregon also has a state-wide face covering mandate in place. Please note the following information from Oregon Health Authority regarding face shields: Oregon Health Authority now recommends wearing a face covering/mask instead of a face shield (except in limited situations when a face shield by itself is appropriate, like talking to someone who is Deaf or hard of hearing and needs to read lips to communicate.) This is taken from the page linked above.
For the state of Idaho, although houses of worship are exempt from the limitations on group sizes. However, churches must follow physical distancing and sanitation practices. In #3 of the attached document, face coverings are highly recommended. The Idaho Conference strongly encourages every church member to follow state guidelines and mandates and follow best practice. Best practice includes utilizing all of the safety protocols: physical/social distancing of at least 6 feet from those not within your household, wear face coverings (including if you want to sing), hand hygiene and sanitation practices.
I implore each of you to follow these practices. I strongly encourage you to wear a face covering, which protects you and others. Appropriate face coverings have been shown to provide protection to the wearer and helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As citizens, we have rights. As citizens, we also have a responsibility to not cause harm to another. As Adventist Christians, we have a responsibility to care for those around us. This is a real disease and it has real consequences for many who contract it.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has long had a health message as part of our mission and ministry. Let’s do our part to preserve the health and well-being of our neighbors and communities.
Thank you for showing compassion to those around us by doing your best to protect them. Thank your for keeping the mission of the Idaho Conference, a God-given mission to reach our area for God’s Kingdom, moving forward in a positive way.
David Prest Jr
COVID-19 coronavirus resources
In John 17 Jesus prayed that His followers would be one, just as He and His Father are one. What’s the evidence of this oneness? The Love of God we have for one another which has been poured out into our hearts. (John 13:35; Romans 5:5) During these difficult times, the Church – the body of Christ – once again has the opportunity to witness before the world what true Love (oneness) looks like. (Ephesians 4:1-8, 11-13) Ellen Whites states, “We need to make it plain to the world that God sent His Son into the world to save sinners. How are we to do this? By putting forth every effort for unity.” (Ms56-1904.5)
There is much confusion when it comes to our current pandemic of COVID-19. The medical and political world have collided on this subject and it has made it very difficult for true facts to be known, thus it has been very difficult for church leadership to know what measures to take to assure the health, welfare, and safety of its members and the communities of which they serve. The Idaho Conference leadership has done its best to find the balance between faith and presumption in its response to COVID-19. We have decided to err on the side of caution hoping that we might glorify our Father which is in Heaven in exercising love towards the communities we serve. The guidelines and protocols may not be perfect, but the motive behind them is.
Therefore, as we continue to rollout protocols to do “safe” ministry to our communities, we ask that each leader carefully consider how to implement these guidelines within their respective churches in the spirit of true unity – Love. Our prayers and support are with you!
Idaho Conference administration
Face Covering information (including Oregon's order)
Grant, Union and Wallowa counties were approved to begin Phase Two on Friday, June 5, 2020. Baker, Harney and Malheur counties were approved to begin Phase Two on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
Malheur County was moved back to Phase One on August 17, 2020.
Expectations for Idaho Churches in Stage 4 and Oregon Churches in Phase 2 (updated June 25, 2020)
Going Digital Resources
Adventist Risk Management Hand Washing/How Not to Spread Disease Videos:
Idaho Conference & Adventist Church Responses
State and Federal Government Resources
Interesting Health Studies and Other Resources