An open letter to Gov. Jared Polis:

Dear Governor Polis,

As spiritual leaders overseeing 427 churches in Colorado, we are critical of the recent federal court ruling regarding public health, which allows faith communities to not adhere to state public health mandates regarding crowd size and mask wearing.

Bishop Kymberly Lucas of The Episcopal Church in Colorado; Bishop James W. Gonia of Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Bishop Karen Oliveto of Mountain Sky Conference, The United Methodist Church.

Studies have shown how many of the practices in which faith communities engage during indoor, in-person worship create a high risk for transmission of COVID-19; contact tracing in many states has shown clear evidence of new cases directly linked to in-person, maskless worship.

We believe in science. We believe in the public good. We believe that we are loving our neighbor when we follow guidelines to reduce transmission in our communities.

Our churches themselves have never been closed. Instead, our congregations have followed state public health guidelines and have creatively offered worship and continued ministry without needing to rely upon gathering in their buildings. They are reaching out to their communities in new and healing, hopeful ways. They are doing so following
the latest scientific findings about COVID-19.

Governor Polis, we commend you and your team for caring deeply about the citizens of Colorado. We stand behind you as you seek to keep all Coloradans safe during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Be assured that we will continue to expect all of our churches to prioritize care for our neighbors, following the guidelines your administration sets for the safe and responsible practice of faith communities during this public health crisis.

Kymberly Lucas is bishop, The Episcopal Church in Colorado. James W. Gonia is bishop, Rocky Mountain Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Karen Oliveto is bishop, Mountain Sky Conference, The United Methodist Church.

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