Media Release from Faith Leaders of Saskatchewan – May 29, 2020
Soon after the release of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, faith leaders from across Saskatchewan gathered online to discuss the re-opening of places of worship. We drafted a letter asking the Saskatchewan government to work together with faith communities to develop responsible guidelines bringing places of worship within the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan. The full text of our letter sent on Thursday, May 14, 2020, accompanies this media release, along with a list of the participating faith leaders.
The government has responded to our request with the designation of two members of the COVID-19 Response Team to liaise with faith leaders. We are extremely thankful for the professionalism and commitment of these public servants. A robust and fruitful dialogue has produced guidelines that have been submitted for approval of the relevant health authorities. We confidently expect their imminent release.
It must be remembered that the guidelines represent the minimum precautions that each faith community is expected to take. No community should resume public worship until they are ready. We have been assured that the provisions included in Phase 3 of the Re-Open plan will be adjusted as further experience commends. Guidelines addressing other aspects of worship and community life within our faith communities will be added in the coming weeks.
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Members of the faith leaders’ working group (representing a group of 28 leaders) are:
- Most Rev. Donald Bolen, Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina
- Rev. Amanda Currie, Synod of Saskatchewan, Presbyterian Church in Canada
- Rev. Tricia Gerhard, Chair, Living Skies Regional Council Executive, United Church of Canada
- Rt. Rev. Michael Hawkins, Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan
- Rev. Paul Israelson, District Superintendent, Saskatchewan District, Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
- Rabbi Jeremy Parnes, Beth Jacob Synagogue, Regina
- Imam Ilyas Sidyot, Islamic Association of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon)
- Rev. Dr. Bernie Van De Walle, District Superintendent, Canadian Midwest District of the Christian Missionary Alliance Church