As faith communities are often on the front line serving those most vulnerable, this time has been no different.
By Reverend Amanda Henderson, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado | April 9, 2020
My name is Reverend Amanda Henderson, a pastor in the Christian Church-Disciples of Christ and the executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado.
As a Christian, I am in the midst of Holy week preparing to celebrate Easter. Tonight my Jewish friends will begin the celebration Passover, and my Muslim friends are just a couple weeks away from beginning Ramadan, the month of fasting and honoring their connection to God.
Typically, this is a time when we are celebrating Spring, and marking our holy rituals, and spending time with friends and family and gathering as a community.
But as you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything and impacted every one of us, including faith communities. While we grieve the loss that comes with this change — and I share in the sadness of losing the traditions we hold dear in this moment — we also have an opportunity to live into our faith in new and deepening ways.
At this time, the truth is, the most faithful thing we can do is to stay home. The way we can show love and compassion and commitment — to love God and love our neighbors — is to assure we stop the spread of COVID-19. This means staying home and finding innovative ways to mark our holy days. We know that we can practice our faith and experience God, wherever we are.
Congregations across the state are working hard to ensure that people’s spiritual, emotional and physical needs are being met. Churches, synagogues and mosques have adapted to this health crisis with creativity and heart. We are inspired by the many congregations that are building community in new and different ways, such as:
- Broadcasting worship services online. Even the Red Rocks Easter Service will be streaming online.
- Holding Shabbat services live on Facebook, and sharing Passover meals online with family and friends.
- Muslim communities across Colorado are planning virtual iftar and prayer during the month of Ramadan.
Additionally, as faith communities are often on the front line serving those most vulnerable, this time has been no different.
- Our local Sikh community has started an in-home delivery service for anyone in need.
- Faith communities across the state are advocating and stepping up to assure that those experiencing homelessness are able to access single-occupancy housing.
- Faith communities are providing childcare for first responders.
- And assuring those who are living alone are not forgotten.
In this sacred season, it is important to remember that we are really all in this together. Even though we are practicing physical distancing, we are socially connected via email, texting, phone calls, FaceTime, videoconferencing and even across the backyard fence from 6 feet away. I am finding that in this time — in some ways — I am feeling more connected than ever to those I love and those I want to assure are safe.
I urge all people of faith to stay home to observe your religious traditions this year and work to keep us all safe and healthy. I believe that in the end, we will find ourselves on the other side stronger, and more connected with new and innovative ways of building community and supporting one another.