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COVID-19: An open letter from faith leaders in support of public health orders

'As faith leaders we have worked hard to keep our communities safe and connected in many imaginative ways.'
Virtual church
Thirty-eight church leaders in B.C., including four from the North Shore, express their full support of public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in an open letter to the editor.

Dear Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix:

We are faith leaders from across British Columbia and from multiple denominations within the province.

We wanted to publicly reach out to show our deep respect and appreciation for you, your staff and all those in leadership in this most challenging time. We fully support the work you have done throughout 2020 and appreciate your calm, considerate guidance and wisdom as you work to keep us all safe.

As faith leaders we have worked hard to keep our communities safe and connected in many imaginative ways.Some of us have remained online throughout this pandemic while others have followed clearly laid out protocols for in-person worship gatherings and events in the summer and early fall.

Each of us, along with our leadership, has prayerfully made decisions that we felt best cared for our congregations.Throughout all of these decisions it has been incredibly helpful to have strong guidance from the provincial health officer, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and the provincial government.

None of us have served in ministry through a global pandemic before, and we look to experts to help us through these times.Your work has been invaluable to us. We have been deeply disappointed in the multiple times that the voices of a particular group of faith leaders have been spotlighted and amplified publicly criticizing your work and your mandates. As you are already aware, those voices do not speak for all of us.

We want to publicly reiterate our gratitude and support for your work. We are deeply grateful that you have, from the beginning, taken time to be in conversation with faith leaders and have spoken publicly many times in support of the work we are doing. We are looking forward to working with Dr. Robert Daum [of SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue] to continue those conversations.

Thank you for your hard work. We continue to hold each of you, your staff, our government, B.C.’s front-line workers and all impacted by COVID-19 in our prayers.

In peace and gratitude,

Rev. Vida Jaugelis, Interim Pastor, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, District of North Vancouver

Rev. Carolina Glauster, Pastor, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, North Vancouver

The Rev. Peggy Trendell-Jensen, Deacon, St. Clement’s Anglican Church, North Vancouver

Rev. Patrick Blaney, Regional Dean of North Vancouver and Rector of St. John’s Anglican Church, North Vancouver

Rev. Aneeta Saroop, Pastor, Spirit of Life Lutheran Church, Vancouver

Rev. Kristen Steele, Pastor, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Langley

Rev. Dr. Gregory Mohr, Bishop, BC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Rev. Kathy Martin, Assistant to the Bishop, BC Synod, ELCIC

Andrew Stephens-Rennie, Missioner, Valhalla Parish (comprising St. Stephen’s Anglican Church New Denver and St. David’s

Anglican Church, Castlegar)

Rev. Kelly Duncan, Rector, Parish of St George, Fort Langley

Rev. David Taylor, Rector, St Dunstan's Anglican Church, Aldergrove

Rev. Lyndon Sayers, Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Victoria

Rev Andrew Halladay, Vicar, St Andrew's Anglican Church, Langley

Rev Brenda Nestegaard Paul, Pastor, Trinity Anglican + Lutheran Church, Port Alberni

Reverend Brian J. Heinrich, Vicar, Saints Aidan & Bartholomew Anglican Parish, Gibsons

Rev. Erik Bjorgan, Pastor, Deo Lutheran Church, Salmon Arm

Rev. Curtis Aguirre, Pastor, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Penticton

Rev. Terry Richardson, Pastor, Hope Lutheran Church, Nanaimo

Rev. Diana Edis, Pastor, St. Paul's Lutheran, Prince Rupert

Rev. David Hunter, Pastor, Peace Lutheran Congregation, Vernon

Rev. Jennifer Wilson, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Delta

Rev. Matthew Senf, Interim Pastor, Oakridge Lutheran Church, Vancouver

Rev. Katrina Vigen, Pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Vancouver

Rev. Patricia Giannelia, Pastor, Christ Lutheran Church, Kelowna

Rev. John Caswell Boyd, Pastor, St. George's Anglican Parish, Kamloops

Rev. Eric Krushel, Pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Coquitlam

Rev. Christoph Reiners, Pastor, Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Richmond

Rev. Peter Hanson, Pastor, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Surrey

Rev. Lyle McKenzie, Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Victoria

Rev. Thomas Keeley, Pastor, Dunbar Lutheran, Vancouver, and Benediction Lutheran, Delta

Rev. Fleming Blishen, Pastor, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Prince George

Rev. Marlys Moen, Pastor, Mount Zion Lutheran Church, New Westminster

Rev. Jane Gingrich, Pastor, Hills of Peace Lutheran Church, Kamloops

Rev. Roland Ziprick, Pastor, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Maple Ridge

Rev. Hardo Ermisch, Pastor, St.Marks Lutheran, Vancouver

Rev. Brian Krushel, Pastor, Faith Lutheran Church, Kelowna

Rev Robin Jacobson, Minister, Trinity United Church, Vernon, BC

The Rev Canon Chris Harwood-Jones, All Saints Anglican Church, Vernon BC

What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.