An email template to church leaders about COVID-19

Bay Area Christians
4 min readMar 14, 2020


Last updated 3/13/2020

Many church leaders are in the process of deciding whether they should pause their on-site Sunday church service in light of COVID-19(coronavirus). If you are concerned about the spread of the virus and would like to reach out to your church leaders about it, here is an email template with some helpful information for them to make that decision. We (a few Christians in the San Francisco Bay Area) used this recently and thought it might be useful for other Christians elsewhere.

Hello <Church leader name>,

My name is <name>. I am a Christian living in San Francisco. I don’t want to overstep my bounds as I do not attend <church being emailed> (I attend <current church>, and have some friends who attend <church being emailed>), but I understand that many churches are currently in the difficult position of deciding whether they should pause their on-site Sunday service in light of COVID-19. I have been following the virus closely and wanted to provide with you some information to assist you in making the decision.

San Francisco has banned events of 100 or more people

Governor Newsom has ordered statewide cancellation/postponing of all gatherings over 250.

Santa Clara county has banned all gatherings for more than 100, and you must implement COVID-19 risk mitigation measures for gatherings between 35 and 100 people.

My own thoughts

I am strongly for churches pausing their regular on-site Sunday service and moving to a virtual service. I recognize that churches have been publicly gathering for the regular assembly of the saints for millennia, and this gathering is an essential aspect of our faith. Fellowship is critical to the spiritual and emotional well-being of our congregations. At the same time, how the church has gathered has changed according to the needs of the time and geography. In persecuted countries they gather underground (not public) and hold small gatherings (church scattered).

Collectively, keeping our physical doors open now, means that we will likely have to keep them closed for much longer later. The effect is exponential. Virologists, public health experts, the WHO, the CDC, and the example of other countries all indicate that this virus will spread, and things will get much worse. How long it takes to get under control, and how long it will take before we can reopen depends on what we do now.

This is also an opportunity for us to partner with our city, love our neighbors, and to care for the most vulnerable in our community. While the number of cases of COVID-19 in the SF Bay Area may seem low, the virus spreads exponentially and the most effective time for social distancing is now. The risk is not just to your church congregation but to a long chain of people they interact with.

In South Korea, the virus was contained for the first 30 cases. One person, “Patient 31”, attended church service, which caused the virus to explode out of control. In just three weeks, the number of cases has grown from 31 to 7800 (as of 3/12/2020)

Ultimately Christ reigns in and through all epidemics. We trust not in chariots and horses but in the name of the Lord our God. Grace and Peace.

Additional info:

  1. List of Bay Area churches that are hosting virtual service:

(created by me and a few friends )

2. Christianity Today article:

See especially this diagram from the Christianity Today article above: Note in particular that most of the Bay Area now has community transmission (red, contact without known case of contact)

3. Patient 31’s effect on Korea

4. Understanding exponential growth

5. How to Livestream your church service


  • Studies have shown that death rates for 80yo+ are north of 15%.
  • The virus can spread before people show symptoms. It is not enough to just avoid people who are showing symptoms.



Bay Area Christians

A group of friends who are in the San Francisco Bay Area Christian community