November 21, 2020
Dear Religious and Faith Leaders:
As we enter this season of gratitude, I want to thank you for your continued partnership and support as we collectively protect health and save lives. During the last several months, you have provided invaluable support, solace, and guidance. For many in our state, worship is an essential part of life and community and has helped individuals cope with the trauma and stress that COVID has created. I know that you will continue to provide critical spiritual services through your counseling and teachings that so many Washingtonians seek and need. I am committed to working with all of you to ensure that you can provide these invaluable services in a safe and healthy environment for all.
I also want to applaud those of you who have developed and adapted new ways to communicate with your congregations. Many of you are now offering online streaming and drive-in services, which are great alternatives to in-person services. I know that for many faith traditions, gathering in community is a critical component to your service delivery, so you are continuing to offer in-person services. For those who are providing in-person services, I am seeking your support and hope that you will follow the guidance outlined in the Religious and Faith-based Organizations memo. In particular, please ensure that your congregation members wear masks and maintain six feet of physical distancing from others as these are effective mitigation efforts and help stop the spread of COVID.
Lastly, as we head into the holiday season, please encourage your congregation to refrain from hosting events and parties with individuals from outside of their household. We know that these types of family and friend gatherings are particularly unsafe and are a significant source of COVID infections. You are a trusted messenger in your faith community, so you are in a unique position to promote safe practices and to communicate timely information with your congregation. I hope you will use your position to share these important messages.
Thank you for all you do to assist, strengthen, and nurture your communities.
Thank you again for your partnership and leadership during this time. We will get through this together!
Very truly yours,