In 2003, Canada was gripped by fear of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). It led to thousands being quarantined; 44 people died. It also exposed the country’s ill-prepared health-care system—and how poorly-equipped faith groups were to respond to pandemics.

In response, a few of us organized a national Faith Community Summit on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, held June 20-21, 2007 at Canadian Mennonite University.

Sponsored by the International Centre for Infectious Diseases (ICID) and CMU, with support from Mennonite Disaster Service, the Salvation Army, the Christian Reformed Church and various Mennonite groups, its goal was to help faith leaders make sure their groups were ready for when—not if—the next pandemic occurred.

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