Right from the earliest days of the church, Christians have followed Christ's command to love their neighbours by responding in times of crisis and emergency.

Today, the church continues to reach out to people in need, particularly during natural disasters, war and other natural or human-caused emergencies. But medical experts warn that another emergency is coming - pandemic disease.

The last time a pandemic hit Canada was during 1918 flu pandemic, killing 50,000 Canadians. More than 500,000 people in the U.S. and up to 50 million people worldwide perished. When the next pandemic arrives, the Public Health Agency of Canada estimates it will kill between 11,000 to 58,000 Canadians and sicken 2.1 million to five million others.

Various levels of government, the health care system and the business community are already making plans for the next pandemic. Faith groups are lagging behind. Mennonite Church Canada believes that it is vital that its congregations, and congregations in other denominations, be prepared for a pandemic, so that it, like Christians before us, can respond to the needs of church members and people in the community.

At the same time, the resources in this website will enable churches to prepare for other kinds of emergencies, and also help them to better care for needy and vulnerable people in their congregation and community.

Whatever your denomination or affiliation, I hope this website can provide your congregation with a theological and pastoral framework to help prepare for a pandemic, and also to provide you with practical ideas about ways you can serve your members and your community - right now, and when a pandemic strikes.

Jack Suderman
(former) General Secretary, Mennonite Church Canada