Rev. Jeremy Smith (STH ’06) was featured for his leadership in Seattle Times

Seattle pastor: If you’re feeling sick, practice your faith at home

“Some Seattle-area church leaders are encouraging their congregants to stay home if they’re feeling ill. Rev. Jeremy Smith, pastor of Seattle First United Methodist Church, encouraged his Twitter followers Saturday night that missing church Sunday morning is not a sin — especially if they’re not feeling well.

‘It’s better to take care of yourself, especially if you’re feeling sick,’ Smith said. ‘Stay home, and your faith can be practiced at home.’

The bishop of the Greater Northwest Area of The United Methodist Church, Elaine Stanovsky, published a blog post marking the beginning of the religious season of Lent with a reminder to take ‘reasonable precautions’ from the World Health Organization, which included putting boxes of tissue in sanctuary pews and making hand sanitizer readily available.

‘Encourage everyone to observe a 4 ft distance from others,’ Stanovsky wrote in the post. ‘Maybe suggest a new gesture of greeting, like folding your hands over your heart and then opening them palms out and down toward another person — in a sign of connection, rather than palms out and up, which might indicate separation.’

At Smith’s congregation in Seattle, one of those precautions includes trading out the communion cup for individual glasses of grape juice.

‘We normally do communion where a person is given a piece of bread, and they then dip that bread in cup, and then they ingest it as part of holy communion,’ Smith said in an interview. ‘How we’re changing it is instead of them dipping it into a cup, they are going to be given an individual serving of grape juice.’”

To see the original article in the Seattle Times, click here.