As I write, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Wyoming Interfaith Network (WIN) and it’s interfaith communities share a concern for the well being of Wyoming residents, for families whose loved ones live elsewhere and for all people of the global community.
WIN asks that we all follow the Wyoming Department of Health’s recommendations as regards personal contacts, social distancing and group meetings, realizing that the only way to stay safe is to follow the guidelines as they are disseminated by health authorities.
COVID-19 is placing huge burdens on parents, service workers, small businesses, and employees whose businesses are forced to close, people for whom child care is a concern, and for those for whom loss of work time will pose complicated financial burdens.
Some find themselves socially distanced from the people and places that sustain them. As the national Interfaith Alliance’s President, Rabbi Jack Moline says “...even if technology keeps us in touch with loved ones and our faith communities, it is not the same as human proximity.” Rabbi Moline encourages us to resist xenophobic responses to the corona virus. The casual labeling of COVID-19 as “foreign” gives the impression that the virus is racially, culturally or even politically motivated! “Faith undoubtedly includes a mandate to comfort the sick and ailing. Call friends, family and neighbors, check on one another, the poor, those living in skilled nursing facilities and children. Check on the people in your faith communities and offer aid and support when possible,” says Moline.
COVID-19 has affected Wyoming faith communities, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, shrines, cathedrals and places of worship and yet people are coming together to find creative ways to worship, connect with one another , serve their communities and continue their ministries. Food pantries pass out pre-packaged food (including toilet paper), shelters continue to provide shelter, spiritual care providers send cards and letters to residents of skilled nursing facilities, and faith communities live-stream worship services.
I encourage us all to pray for health and healing for all. Pray for our health care providers and government leaders who are making difficult decisions. Pray for those in the fields of science who are searching for a vaccine and pray for all those already infected and those still to come. Now is the time to open our hearts to anyone and everyone in our personal spheres of influence and faith communities, and pray for wisdom, guidance and compassion for all.
Peace and blessings,
Carl R. Carmichael, Chair.