We Never Closed
I am growing very tired of having to respond to the bungling of our nation’s COVID-19 response by some of our nation’s leaders. Today, our President declared “churches as essential” and demanded that governors immediately allow for the reopening of churches and offered some veiled threat if they did not comply.
Mr. President… yes, you are correct, we are essential! However, the last time I checked, our churches, temples, mosques, and other houses of worship ARE OPEN!!! (May I remind you that our country has many faiths and many different sacred spaces—not just churches). We are open and we have never closed!
We are open—worshipping together online. We are open—gathering online for fellowship, education, and inspiration. And because we are called to care for one another and to protect one another, especially the most vulnerable among us, we are NOT gathering together in person! We will not gather together in our buildings until it is safe for all of our congregants, friends, and guests—and for those who we will meet after we leave our place of worship.
St. James is open…open to sharing God’s love and peace. St. James is open to those in need. St. James is open to being a responsible and loving neighbor, especially during this pandemic. St. James is open and will never close.
Thank you Mr. President; however, we do not need your guidance or politicizing when it comes to our communities of faith. Unlike some in our country’s leadership, we, the communities of faith like St. James, are listening to the real experts (the scientists, physicians, and health officials), we are faithfully following and practicing social distancing guidelines, and we are responding with empathy and kindness to those impacted by this terrible virus.
We are open and will never close our hearts and minds to others!
The Very Reverend Ryan D. Newman
Dean, St. James Episcopal Cathedral