Clergy in plan to cope with flu outbreak
Swine flu could have a “major impact” on the clergy say ministers in Dudley and preparation in the event of an outbreak is vital.
Churches need to know how to cope if there were a large number of deaths from the disease.
Leaders say they do not want to be alarmist but a training day on July 1 at Bank Street Methodist Church in Brierley Hill will be held for the ministry to discuss the potential scale of the pandemic. The Diocese of Worcester is working with the emergency planning team at Dudley Council and funeral directors ahead of the event.
Social responsibility officer for the diocese, the Reverend John Paxton, who is organising the training, said pandemic flu would have a “major impact” on the ministry of clergy and readers.
He said: “This is about how we would manage our time and work with large numbers of sick people and a higher number of funerals than usual.
“We will be working with burial grounds and crematoriums more than usual and there may be a pressure on people’s time.”
Lay reader John Dudley said the clergy had swine flu very much in its “vision.”
He warned churches could have to close if a case of the disease was linked to it and ministers may have to refuse to visit people in their homes to offer pastoral support. Mr Dudley, aged 80, who preaches at St John’s Church in Kates Hill said: “In my opinion it would be wrong of us not to follow the tendency to close schools and deep clean if a church was identified as having a case of swine flu.”
Amblecote councillor Liz Walker said although the parish did not predict a major increase in the number of deaths from swine fever clergy did need to learn how to deal with the impact. She said: “Families will be scared if there’s an outbreak and we need to know what precautions to take.”