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We’re working with faith and religious leaders to create best practices for worshipping safely.

GHC3 is committed to helping people of all faiths return safely to their places of worship. To that end, we’re holding roundtables with prioritized input from leaders whose communities are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes.

Together, we’re learning about the challenges and working to find real solutions.

GHC3 Faith Organizations Roundtable
July 15, 2020

Participants

  • Rabbi Peter Berg – The Temple
  • John Blevins –  Emory University/Interfaith Health Program
  • Pastor Jackie Flake – Community Bible Church
  • Pastor Lee Jenkins – Eagle Nest Church
  • Archbishop Mark MacDonald – National Indigenous Archbishop
  • Dr. Kevin Murriel – Cascade United Methodist Church
  • Nabile Safdar – President – Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA)
  • Hassan Shanawani – President – American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP)
  • Archbishop Melissa Skelton – Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver & British Columbia
  • Tony Sundermeir – First Presbysterian Church of Atlanta
  • Affan Shaikh – Epidemiologist, Intelligent Epi, Inc
  • Arshia Wajid – Founder & Board Member – (AMHP) 

Safety is the top concern for everyone.

The input we received during our roundtable will be used to develop a comprehensive Back 2 Worship plan. Some of the feedback included:

“Can we ensure that we will not harm anyone by potential exposure to COVID-19?”  

“If we can’t ensure people’s safety, we won’t return until we can.”

Participants indicated concern about ensuring safety for large numbers of people during services and whether the worship services will feel same if certain religious, cultural, and social practices are stopped (hugging, touching, holding hands, singing, etc.)

Some observed that precautions such as wearing masks, barring singing, no physical contact (hugging, holding hands) diminishes the value of in-person prayer.

Participants showed interest in reconvening another roundtable, perhaps with more participants from a range of faiths, to “look for more opportunities to work with different faiths” and come up with universal, generally applicable solutions.

Topics for our next Back 2 Worship Roundtable

  • What are acceptable practices for preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at religious gatherings?
  • What facilitations can GHC3 provide participants/faith leadership to use in making evidence-based decisions about congregation practices?
  • How can we collectively help each other in creating sense of community for in-person service by worshipping safely?
  • How can we involve more leaders of different faiths?

If you have more feedback or would like to know about our Back 2 Worship Roundtables, contact us.

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