Faith Communities and Coronavirus: A statement
A Statement by the Co-Chairs and Faith Communities Forum Moderators of IFN
As faith communities of the UK we are united in our commitment to working for the wellbeing of all affected by COVID-19.
We thank and support those who are working so hard to enable us to get through this testing time: NHS and care workers; emergency response services; providers of food, medicine and other vital goods; those in government and officials; and the many others who may not be classed as ‘essential workers’ but make all the difference to our daily lives.
We know that around the UK faith organisations and their ministers, members, staff and volunteers are among those helping ensure that support is provided to people, providing spiritual and pastoral care; a listening ear; much needed provisions; and other practical assistance of many kinds.
In a number of areas, people of different faiths are working together to respond to needs of groups such as the homeless and refugees and others. Faith and inter faith bodies are also feeding into local resilience forum and other contexts, helping ensure that faith is taken into account in planning. All of this is vital work. So, too, is the prayer and spiritual support that each faith offers.
We know that as the days go by there are challenges that will be faced.
Sadly, COVID-19 will bring many more deaths. It is our hope that deaths of people of different faiths and beliefs are handled sensitively and that there is not friction over arrangements. It is vital that this matter is handled well. Faith communities stand ready to work with local authorities toward that end.
We have a concern that in isolation some individuals may become increasingly affected by misinformation, particularly on social media – and also by extreme views including coronavirus conspiracy theories that have been targeting particular groups such as Jews or East Asians. We call on Government and relevant agencies to do all that they can to tackle this.
We also know that as the days go by there will be ever more stories of kindness and active compassion.
It is our hope and our prayer that these will far outweigh the challenges and that we will emerge on the other side of the epidemic as a better connected and more empathetic society, ready to move forward together on the basis of our experience in positive ways.
The Inter Faith Network Co-Chairs and Faith Communities Forum Moderators
31 March 2020
Notes for editors
- Media queries to the Inter Faith Network: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Inter Faith Network for the UK www.interfaith.org.uk was founded in 1987 to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Britain and to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country. It works with its member bodies and others to carry out these aims.
- Member bodies of the Inter Faith Network include: national faith community representative bodies; national, regional and local inter faith bodies; and academic institutions and educational bodies concerned with inter faith issues. A list of member bodies can be found at www.interfaith.org.uk/members.
- This statement can be found at http://interfaith.org.uk/resources/statements-and-messages and a copy of IFN’s statement making policy at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/uploads/Policy_on_making_of_statements.pdf.