State of epidemic threat in Poland

On 13 March 2020, after Poland declared a state of epidemic threat, the head of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland bishop Jerzy Samiec addressed all Church members through a pastoral letter. Referring to the situation in Poland in connection with the coronavirus, he reminded members of all Lutheran congregations of their responsibility for one another and gave guidelines with regard to the upcoming Sunday services. 

The presiding bishop recommended that all services be cancelled on the Sundays of March 15 and 22, 2020. However, he urged the pastors to be present in churches on the Sundays concerned at the usual times of service to stay with those who, for various reasons, will come to their temples to talk, pray, and read excerpts from God's Word. He asked for a special approach to those in need of support.

First of all, bishop Samiec asked his fellow believers to pray, keep the peace and give special attention to one another as well as all those who need help and support in this unusual time. He asked Church members to keep the sick, their families, those under mandatory quarantine and those who put their own health at risk to help others in their prayers. He also mentioned the need to pray for all health care professionals and others who, in the exercise of their duties, meet with a large number of people, and whose work is essential to continued functioning of the society.

A recorded message addressed to all Church members has been posted on the Youtube channel of the Church. In it, the bishop said that because of the current situation, "we are especially calling on the One who can come to our aid. Perhaps it is a kind of Lenten fast, when we cannot attend church freely, when we cannot go to restaurants, shopping malls, prepare for a happy Easter. Maybe such a Lent is what people need now. (...) It is a good opportunity to use the time we have been given, to reflect on our lives, our life goals, where we are headed". He also referred to the name of the last Sunday (Oculi) and the words of Psalm 25. He pointed out that, like the psalmist, we are now discovering that not everything depends on us, that try as we might to protect ourselves, something bad can still befall us.

The bishop encouraged believers to bear in mind that in Christ, in God, we have the Saviour. In him we find the One who cares about our lives, who wants to help us live them well and provide answers to the emerging questions. He referred to the words of the Book of Ecclesiastes, "For everything there is a season," by saying: "We are now in a season of fear, a season of danger. Let us draw closer to Christ and that not only in this season!"

Link to the video:

Further guidelines concerning church services and parish meetings will be given before Palm Sunday (late March). Many parishes have already planned Internet transmissions of their services over the next two weeks. On three Sundays, Lutheran services will be broadcast on television (TVP3). Parishioners can also conduct home services, for which materials are available online.