RELIGIONS ARE "ESSENTIAL SERVICES"
Updated: May 23, 2020
Houses of Worship Must Coalesce Resources & Efforts Now to prepare for Reopening.
Responsible prevention practices are essential for a trouble-free opening of all houses of worship, a multi-faith coalition of religious leaders state.
President Donald Trump declares houses of worship 'essential,' pressuring governors to let them reopen during a press conference at the White House.
Washington, D.C: With the White House asserting today that governors should classify houses of worship as “essential” and permit them to reopen, religious leaders from multi-faith coalition urge responsible adoption of guidelines to ensure the physical as well of the spiritual health of those they serve.
The consensus is that all houses of worship should review and understand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidance for Communities of Faith adopt them to ensure trouble-free opening and to keep their parishioners safe and well. CDC offers general considerations to help communities of faith discern how best to practice their beliefs while keeping their staff and congregations safe.
"We believe one of the most important points is to educate the religious communities on the proper precautions to take while practicing their faith, as well as in daily life" said Bishop Craig A. Worsham, President of The IMFC " the role we play as houses of worship in times of crisis cannot be underestimated."
Bishop Worsham added “I firmly believe that the choice and time frame in which to re-open the Sanctuaries for Worship services rest with the Senior Leadership of the local assemblies. Many of the Houses of Worship across our city indeed have been providing essential services to the community at large such as but not limited to: Emergency Food & Clothing, Housing, and Testing. Congregations such as Agape Church of Los Angeles, West Angeles Church of God In Christ, City of Refuge & Crenshaw Christian Center.
Several Churches have already implemented necessary measures and made resource centers available for their religious communities. One example is the Islamic Center of Southern California which has a Covid-19 Resources section of their website at www.islamiccenter.com/covid19/, with information on how to stay well and healthy.
The First AME Church has also created resources for this purpose.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles also has a Federation Crisis Resources section at www.jewishla.org seeking to educate and there are a lot more.
The Church of Scientology has a How to Stay Well Resource Center where people can study, downloaded, print and share booklets, signs and videos on basic prevention principles to keep themselves and others well.
Key recommendations to ensure the reopening houses of worship occur without a hitch include:
1) Taking the temperature of clergy and parishioners when entering. If anyone has a temperature or has been exposed to someone who has been ill or has symptoms, they should return home and isolate themselves.
2) All churches should make sanitizers readily available for their parishioners throughout their quarters.
3) They should follow any regulations on the number of people who may congregate and follow social distancing in events and religious practice.
4) The wearing of mask and gloves while inside the house of worship is highly recommend.
5) Houses of worship should sanitization their quarters frequently to keep it as germ-free as possible.
“We are dedicated to making this transition work. Our congregations need our help now and we must provide that help safely to care for body and soul,” said Bishop Worsham.