Your Church's Response to COVID Now
A number of pastors and other religious leaders in Hawai'i have signed a letter to be published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser and the Maui News encouraging people to be vaccinated. It is expected to be published in the Star Advertiser on August 26, 28, 30, and 31; and on August 28 and September 1 in the Maui News.
The number of COVID cases has greatly increased in Hawai'i, filling our hospitals to overflowing, taxing our medical staffs, and killing people. Churches, representatives of God's love on earth, are encouraged to continue to show that love for our neighbors by avoiding activities that could increase the spread of COVID.
While we count on political figures to set limits, it is each church's responsibility to protect its congregation as a demonstration of God's love for the congregation and all people that they may interact with. At times, especially when instructions are not as clear as we would like, each church must determine how best to represent the message of the Gospel.
Of course, we are aware that recommendations and best practices are changing daily and it is the responsibility of our churches to monitor and follow the guidelines and restrictions put in place by our respective counties and Governor.
Early in the pandemic the World Council of Churches Executive Committee reminded us: "At many times during the history of the Church, Christians have been obliged to meet only in small groups, and have yet succeeded in spreading the gospel and continuing the faith. So too can we continue to worship and witness in these times.
"In this pandemic, churches and their specialized ministries have continued to serve their communities, to accompany and support those in need, and to work with their constituencies and marginalized people to overcome the challenges they face. We have experienced how partnerships between churches in different parts of the world have strengthened in the face of this crisis, and how churches are striving to support people suffering extreme hardship in these circumstances. We have been inspired by the creativity with which churches have found ways to worship and witness even when unable to gather physically." *
*Statement on the Role of Churches in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Love, Steadfastness, Hope and Courage by the World Council of Churches Executive Committee, Video Conference, 1-3 June 2020.