Statement on Reopening for In-Person WorshipGreensboro Faith Leaders’ Council / May 28, 2020
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As Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Faith Leaders in Greensboro and Guilford County, we are aware of the very real suffering that the COVID-19 virus is causing in our community, our nation, and our world. Based on the central teachings of our faith traditions, and the most reliable medical science, we will wait a while longer to gather for face-to-face worship, and we encourage other faith communities to do so as well.
We all long for the comfort and essential support that healthy faith communities offer. Indeed, we have all sought ways to stay connected to our congregations and to hold worship in various formats online. And while we uphold our cherished freedom of practicing religion, our choices and our freedom cannot come at the expense of the health and safety of others. Early on in this crisis, several faith communities that held choir rehearsals, meals and services in person were very hard hit by the virus and spread it to others. The Torah says “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus said “Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.” The Qur’an says “Whoever saves one life, it is as if he has saved all of humankind.”
We urge all to join us as we continue to keep safe physical distance, wear masks, wash our hands, and stay at home for the sake of our families and friends, neighbors and strangers, the most vulnerable among us, and those on the front lines of healing and supply chains.
We will continue to find creative ways to serve and support those hardest hit by this crisis, working together in safe and responsible ways. We are particularly alarmed by the disproportionate degree of infection and deaths among people of color, and are committed to working with community leaders to address this trend.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and to rely on shared wisdom, hoping and planning for the day when we can all safely worship in our sanctuaries. In the meantime, we hope and pray all will stay vigilant, stay safe, and stay true to our deepest core values as people of faith.
We are always better together, and it is together that we will find healing.
Rabbi Andy Koren, Co-Chair
Rev. Kim Priddy, Co-Chair
Rev. Julie Peeples
Dr. Daran H. Mitchell, Pastor of Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church
Rev. Frank Dew, Peace and Justice Advocate, Salem Presbytery
Rev. Baylee Smith
Rev. Taylor Barner
Rev. Dr. Kate Guthrie
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer, PCUSA, Greensboro
Rev. Dr. Arnetta E. Beverly
Melissa Burris, Coordinator of Traditional Worship, First Lutheran Church, Greensboro
Reverend Marcia M. Cham
Rev. Emily Lemoine, Pastor, First Lutheran Church
The Rev. Audra Abt, Vicar, Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit
Rev. Jay Hilbinger, Senior Pastor, First Lutheran Church, Greensboro
The Rev. Dale Walker
Rev. Ginny Bain Inman, Rector of St. Andrews Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. Philip V. Miller, Interim Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Greensboro
The Rev. Richard Sigler
Dr. Daniel W. Massie, Transitional Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Greensboro
Father Randall J. Keeney, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
Pastor Margaret Webb
Dr. Joseph L. Graves Jr.
Rev. Sadie Lansdale, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro
Rev. Dr. Maria Hanlin
Rev. Oliver M. Thomas, M.Div., Ph.D., Associate Pastor, Providence Baptist Church
Butch Sherrill, Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Reverend Dan Martin
Rev. Caroline Sell, Associate Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Reverend Ernie Thompson, Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Rev. Karen Watts-Yehudah
Rev. Sam Perkins, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Rev. Jessica Rigel
Dr. Kyle Goodman, Pastor
Chaplain Bob Hamilton, Director Department for Spiritual Care and Wholeness, Cone Health
Apostle Wayne Clapp, Inner Growth Ministry Outreach Inc.
Nikki Scheidecker, MDiv.
Deborah Suess, Pastoral Minister
Rabbi Fred Guttman, Temple Emanuel
Rev. Dr. Darryl Aaron
Rev. Denise Kilgo-Martin
Rev. Virginia Reynolds, Associate Pastor, Christ United Methodist Church, Greensboro
Rev. Mike Aiken
Christi Taylor, Associate Pastor, Oak Ridge United Methodist Church
Rev. Morris Brown, Senior Pastor, Christ UMC
Andrei Spells, Chaplain, Greensboro Urban Ministry / Pastor, FaithStep Ministries Church
Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, Executive Supply Pastor, Saint James Presbyterian Church
Rev. David Fraccaro, Executive Director – FaithAction International House
Rev. Matthew Canniff-Kesecker, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Greensboro
Rev. Dr. Marilyn King Lewis
Pastor Jesse Canniff-Kuhn, Lutheran Church of Our Father
Donna Chase, Director of Christian Formation, First Presbyterian Church, Greensboro
Reverend Steve Allen, Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church
Pastor Orinzie Hooks, Jr., Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church, Greensboro
The Greensboro Faith Leaders’ Council is a group of faith community leaders in Greensboro raising a compassionate moral voice for justice and the common good. The mission of the Greensboro Faith Leaders’ Council is to build an informed interracial and interfaith council among leaders of Greensboro’s congregations and other faith communities, so that we may become a trusted, diverse, and united moral voice speaking boldly to concerns and issues for justice and the common good in our city and its surroundings. To learn more, visit www.faithleadersgso.org.