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H1N1 Precautions
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I wrote the following email to the Board and Worship Associates of my UU Church:

Roman Catholic parishioners of the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C., have been instructed by the bishop not to shake hands at the sign of peace, and wine is not being offered for the sacrament of communion.

In "The Flu, Your Parish and You," a newsletter from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in Florida, church officials said that hymnals and collection baskets would be put away in the event of a severe flu outbreak, holy water fonts would be emptied and there would be 'no large group baptisms, weddings or funerals.'

"Because this is a new flu virus, almost all of us will be able to catch it," church leaders wrote in the newsletter.

After I read the paragraphs above, I began wondering what we could/should do here in Emerson....we do have potlucks and other gatherings. I may be overstepping my boundaries, but I am concerned. Maybe here in California we're not so much at risk?

We don't have communion wine and holy water fonts, of course, but we do pass collection bags and hold hands at the end of the service for the blessing. Of course we share hymnals. Today we're having a potluck, with, among other things, chips and dips.

There is a close association between being a proactive person and being considered a troublemaker. I'm sure that several people (the minister included) with get annoyed with me for my email. I'm a self-directed person, a self-starter and very outspoken--and I'll be fussed at for speaking out of turn.

But--and this is a big "but"--we have a large number of children in our Sunday classes and they are at high risk for H1N1. All children are notorious for not washing their hands before they eat and for sharing food. I'd be horrified if the flu swept through our church population and nobody had had the courage or foresight to do anything preventative because they were afraid of opprobrium.

So let me be proactive and, if you like, be labeled a troublemaker (as if the flu danger were my fault). Go ahead and shoot the messenger. Just, please, take appropriate measures to protect ourselves where we can.

You know if I see somebody obviously sick, I'm going to suggest they go home, immediately. That's what I do at work, too.

I wonder why our minister and/or the medical people in our congregation have not taken action on this? Head in the sand syndrome? It can't happen here attitude? We're such a small, closely-knit church, it's hard to believe that we could infect one another, but people like me have a lot of contacts in the wider world and could easily bring the infection home.

Or am I overreacting? The CDC has declared an epidemic....

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