13 March 2020 You are here:

Salvation Army coronavirus response

Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, leader of The Salvation Army in the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland

Like the rest of the world, the territory is facing rapidly developing challenges due to the spread of the coronavirus. This is the worst public health crisis in our life time. As governments around the world adjust their approach to the virus, so the territory needs to make adjustments.

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

More than two weeks ago the Chief Secretary, Colonel Lee Graves, convened the Corona Task Force to ensure the territory is prepared and able to continue to serve the hundreds of thousands of people who rely every day on The Salvation Army. This Corona Task Force meets every morning and has done excellent work to ensure officers and managers have access to the information they need to lead effectively in their areas of responsibility.

The situation is rapidly changing and therefore I am now meeting every day at noon with the Senior Leaders based at THQ to review the situation and make adjustments as necessary.

Salvation Army leaders across the country are working in partnership with partners from government, churches, voluntary organisations and other faith groups. The Salvation Army is attending high level government planning meetings. A number of opportunities to serve are emerging and as soon as we have more information, we will share it.

Every corps, centre, DHQ and THQ department or unit has or is developing a plan to respond to the coronavirus. In some places, it may be possible to expand services to help the community at this time. In other places, it may be necessary to reduce services to protect the most vulnerable people. Decisions taken at a local level will be given appropriate support and oversight from the relevant headquarters.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. PRAY: I encourage you to pray every day at noon for all the people around the world impacted by the coronavirus. Please also pray for leaders across the world who are making very complex decisions. May God give us all wisdom and courage.
  2. CLEAN: The best defence against coronavirus is good personal hygiene. Please ensure you and your colleagues follow advice on hand washing and all advice from the public health experts in your country.
  3. LISTEN: The Salvation Army will follow and promote government public health advice and directives. Some differences are emerging in the approaches being adopted by the governments across the UKI Territory. Divisions, corps and centres should take their lead from their relevant authorities.
  4. CARE: People at higher risk of serious illness from the coronavirus (over 65s, people with a pre-existing health condition and those who live with such a person) are encouraged to be very careful. Employees in this category are permitted, if they make the request and it is possible, to work from home. Where this is not possible, leaders and managers are encouraged to find ways to protect them as much as possible.
  5. ACT:  As governments move from 'contain' to the 'delay' phase, leadership accepts this will start to impact the ministry and operation of The Salvation Army. While we do not want to retreat when our communities need us, we must also be responsible citizens. Leaders are, therefore, encouraged to prioritise 'mission critical' activities. Ministry units across the territory vary enormously. Therefore, we cannot set one definition of 'mission critical' across the whole territory. Local leaders are expected to decide what is 'mission critical' in their context and make decisions in light of the advice from the public health experts in your countries .

People will rightly look to The Salvation Army to responsibly serve the most vulnerable people in this time of global uncertainty. We know God is with us and this gives us the courage to step out with boldness and love.

Thank you in anticipation for your co-operation and service at this time.

God bless you!

Yours sincerely,

Anthony Cotterill

Commissioner Territorial Commander