Faith leaders provide strong support in times of physical separation

With the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order now in effect through May 4, connecting with faith-based and cultural communities continues to be a vital source of support. In March, Public Health – Seattle & King County had the opportunity to stand in solidarity with faith and spiritual leaders who are building unity and connection in times of physical distancing.

Leaders shared how their communities have provided support. Some have turned to live-streaming of religious services and gatherings. Others are providing care over the phone instead of in person. Others are learning from traditional approaches to healing and well-being.

“What can we be doing for our people? Who does this effect? When we think about that, we think about historical pandemics that happened to our communities and what they did in those instances and what we have heard from our ancestors.” — Nawiishtunmi Conner, Chief Seattle Club

“Surely after difficulty comes ease; surely after difficulty comes ease. So we want everyone to understand that this too shall pass.” — Imam Benjamim Shabazs, Al-Islam Center of Seattle

“Jewish tradition famously teaches that saving a life is like saving a world. Preserving life is so important, that it takes precedence over all the other commandments of our tradition. So for instance, gathering for communal prayer . . . is an important Jewish practice, but it can and should be put aside when lives are on the line.” — Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum, Kavana Cooperative

“We are scattered and we are one. Love, compassion and hope should be our common currency. Each of us must care for one another during this time by checking in on those who are elderly, those who are differently-abled and disabled, those who are immune compromised—by phone or written correspondence.” — Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown, Plymouth Church, Seattle

 “We are extremely grateful for the support of these faith leaders. They have provided us guidance as well so that together we can protect our community,” said Patty Hayes, director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. “We could not do this without them.”

The full press conference is available here.

Originally posted April 5, 2020