The Presbyterian Church headquarters in Washington state in the U.S. is encouraging churches in the Seattle area to cancel services due to the coronavirus.
Last Friday, leaders of the Presbytery of Seattle posted a letter on its website saying that regular services should be canceled due to a recent case of coronavirus reported in the United States. The letter was signed by Eliana Maxim and Scott Lumsden, co-executive members of the regional body.
The elder leaders have made the decision following the King County Health Department's recent recommendation to cancel large gatherings, saying, "As the pastoral pastors of these elders, I lament this conclusion, but I believe it is in our best interest for our community, our neighbors, our parishioners, our families, and our friends."
"Jeremiah told us to 'seek the welfare of the city ... and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.' (29:7) Therefore, let's turn our worship into a prayer for our community."
The more cautious way is to cancel the service until further notice, he added.
Washington has experienced the worst case of coronavirus in the U.S., and 70 of 200 confirmed cases in the United States have been infected.
Ten of the 11 reported deaths in the United States have died in King County, according to USA Today.