But this year we need to think about what is truly the most important thing, is it the worship or the building? For me, God is wherever you are. You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers. — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam
On Thursday afternoon, Governor Ralph Northam announced a tightening of restrictions as Covid-19 cases surge in Virginia and across the country. Actually, only five states have lower cases per 100,000 in the last seven days (NYT).
There were no new restrictions on faith community gatherings. But Northam did make an appeal to faith communities to be models for residents of the state.
Governor Northam: (19:56)
Now, I’d like to take a moment to talk about our faith communities. This is a holy time for multiple faith traditions. Tonight, as a matter of fact is the first night of Hanukkah, Christmas is two weeks away. The holidays are typically times of joy and community. We gather together, we celebrate our faith and we celebrate with family. But this year we need to think about what is truly the most important thing, is it the worship or the building? For me, God is wherever you are. You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers.
Governor Northam: (20:39)
So I strongly call on our faith leaders to lead the way and set an example for their members. Worship with a mask on is still worship, worship outside or worship online is still worship. I can’t remind Virginians enough how serious this virus is and as I call on our faith leaders to set the example, I also hope that our local leaders across the commonwealth will do the same, many already have. We have seen so many people who didn’t fully realize how dangerous this disease was until they experienced it themselves.