May 21, 2020 - 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.

On behalf of the Greensboro Faith Leaders’ Council,

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

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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.

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