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DeKalb County religious institutions preach cleanliness, avoiding illness

No wine from a communal goblet and no more shaking hands as a sign of peace as familiar patterns of worship are changing in response to concerns over the spread of Covid-19.

Cindy Graves, president of the Salem Lutheran Church Congregation that oversees 67 faith-based organizations across the county, knows someone has to take the lead. She’s also director of community health and prevention for the DeKalb County Health Department and said, on Feb. 28, she sent out guidance to all of the churches in DeKalb County.

“Practice what you preach,” she said. “Basically … avoid close contact, cover your coughs, wash your hands, etc.”

For example, the guidelines also tell churches to not have a bottle of sanitizer for all to handle. Instead, churches like should Salem Lutheran Church have someone standing at the entrance with hand sanitizer dispensing it directly into parishioners’ hands, she said.

Graves said communion is happening in a different way for the time being.

Instead of all parishioners drinking from a common cup, the staff distributes the wine in individual cups.

Instead of shaking hands to greet each other or “share peace,” parishioners can flash the two-fingered “peace” sign, or whatever they’re comfortable with, such as bumping elbows with the other person

Guy Hermann, principal of St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sycamore, said there are many different ways to share peace with someone and how people should be conscious of what other people prefer.

Faith Schroeder, 13, a seventh-grade student at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sycamore, said she’s seen people tell others at church that they’re sick and to not shake their hand.

Schroeder said the church and her school are pretty clean and there are hand sanitizers and tissues in every classroom.

“All the teachers talk about how we need to cover our mouths and wash our hands,” Schroeder said.

Guidance delivered to the school also describes how states priests, deacons and ministers of communion should wash their hands well with anti-bacterial soap before they arrive at church and before Mass starts, and then dry them with a clean towel.

It also states those who are very sick or now they have an easily communicable disease they are not bound to participate in Sunday Mass.

Crossroads Community Church Pastor Solomon Adams has advice he shares with his own congregation.

“I’m trying to tamp down a little bit of panic,” Adams said. “Wash your hands and be wise.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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