Photo: Marianne Ejdersten/World Council of Churches

Photo: Marianne Ejdersten/World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, Switzerland, has taken strong measures to prevent the spread of COVID 19 after Geneva announce local transmission of the virus.

In a letter to the staff, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit wrote that the risk of transmission everywhere requires a new level of measures.

“We are in a situation as colleagues, with our friends and families, where we have to take more radical measures to take care of one another, of ourselves, and of the society in which we live, nationally and internationally,” Tveit wrote. “We have to pay full attention to daily news to directives from the authorities, and what we send you as updates and recommendations from the leadership of the WCC.”

This situation calls on our solidarity and accountability, mindfulness, care and wisdom, Tveit continued. “This situation also calls for our signs of faith, hope and love,” he wrote. “We need one another now as colleagues and friends to support one another in the reorganizing of our work, but also we need one another’s support mentally and spiritually.”

The WCC will be creative and open for new ways of making a difference for our churches and in the world. “The focus is particularly protecting others and particularly those among us and in our families and neighbourhood our at work that are vulnerable and in a high-risk situation with this,” he said. “And to protect the society and health systems from being overstretched.”

Staff were sent measures of how to work that include teleworking unless it is necessary to be in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, reducing exposure through public transport, and rotating presence in the cafeteria.

Staff should also pay attention to their physical and mental well-being, and pay attention to where they move outside the home. “We therefore need to be aware of the collegial and spiritual support we can give one another, praying for one another, talking, listening and encouraging one another,” he said. “This will not last forever, and there are many who are doing their best to prevent the worst effects of the pandemic.”

The WCC communications team continues its support, much of it online, said WCC director of communication Marianne Ejdersten. “Communications from the WCC must be inclusive and have participation and hope at the core especially in these days of fear,” she said. “Preparations are underway with online training to handle the brand new website, online webinars, online recordings, online interviews and online meetings.”

WCC takes steps to prevent spread of COVID 19, WCC press release 6 March, 2020