Open Letter to Fellow Broomfield Clergy

Let’s Stay the Course During This Stage of the COVID Pandemic!

Good morning, fellow Broomfield faith leaders — as a recent community “vaccine ambassador” partner of Broomfield Public Health (BPH), I’ve been helping get the word out to area residents/workers/employers about COVID vaccine clinics. (If you or your congregants haven’t yet been vaccinated and are interested in getting vaccinated, please visit this webpage to signup for a shot. I got my two Moderna shots last month.) Through this process, I’ve been impressed by BPH’s desire to make vaccines available to all residents, including our neighbors on the margins, who typically have a harder time accessing community resources. I’ve also been encouraged by their desire to balance public safety and religious freedom in their dealings with faith communities.

I’m not sure about you, but I have a clear case of COVID fatigue. We’ve long been “double masking” during our “Refuge Café” hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays (our only in-person and inside Refuge activity during the pandemic), and I think I have permanent elastic-mask-strap callouses behind my ears. 😐 In all kinds of ways, I’m sure this pandemic has challenged you and your congregation, and it’s certainly raised ethical and spiritual questions about the tension between the human need for interaction and the responsibility to help preserve individual and public safety.

All that to say, as we all enter this (hopefully) final stage of the COVID pandemic, I urge you and your congregations to join the Refuge and other local faith communities in “staying the course” by following current BPH guidelines during your in-person services. Effective April 16-May 15, 2021, Broomfield County is at COVID Alert “Level Blue: Cautious,” which mandates face coverings and six-foot social distancing for all those in attendance at indoor gatherings.

Why am I personally asking you and your congregations to remain COVID vigilant, even after we’ve all sacrificed so much for so long?

Unfortunately, last weekend COVID cases in Broomfield were at the highest level they have been since our winter spike, and our public health department is particularly concerned about how quickly positive cases are rising among younger people in our community. (My oldest son is personally in quarantine right now because during his in-person SAT test he sat next to a fellow Broomfield High School junior who tested positive for COVID.)

Remember, it’s not so much about the danger that any of us or our congregants will get the COVID virus, as many who test positive experience no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. It’s more about the danger of us contracting the virus and unintentionally transmitting it to others who might later get sick or die from COVID. If we can at all reduce that risk of transmission out of love for our neighbors, let’s please do so! I hate to that an elderly friend and neighbor of mine died from COVID last fall and I want to spare others from telling that same story. As of today, my neighbor is one of 75 Broomfield residents we’ve lost to COVID since the beginning of the pandemic. (Also, 234 residents have been hospitalized.)

The good news is most Broomfield residents who want to be vaccinated will have been vaccinated by mid-May, so BPH is expecting a significant reduction in positive COVID cases after that time. Having been part of vaccine ambassador conversations for the last month or two, I can affirm that places of worship are just some of the many different local organizations and businesses being encouraged to adhere to Broomfield’s current COVID safety guidelines. The message is simple: we’re all in this together, and large groups of people meeting unmasked, in close proximity, indoors, while speaking or singing, greatly risk spreading COVID. Because some of our congregants likely have yet to be fully vaccinated, meeting in that way is not the safest option.

Let’s please do our best to keep our neighbors safe for this little bit longer so that in mid-May, BPH will be able to loosen COVID restrictions!

Peace to you and your congregation,

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