Part of my role as bishop is to engage in public faith. As a synod, one way we do that is through partnering with Texas Impact. This ecumenical/interfaith organization has been working with diverse faith communities since 1973. On Monday, Sept. 28th, I spent the noon hour talking about how faith communities develop social statements particularly about how we as ELCA develop our social messages and statements. These are deliberative and thoughtful conversations that take time and attempt to incorporate many voices in our community. They are very useful for congregational self study and engagement.
Tuesday, Sept. 9th, over the noon hour I was able to again be on a call with Judge Clay Jenkins from Dallas County getting updates on Covid-19 related issues. Particularly we discussed the census and the challenges of ensuring accurate counts, particularly in major urban centers like Dallas. Ensuring a safe and fair election is also a significant effort including the fact that many houses of worship serve as polling places. He encourages any who can to do early voting.
We also discussed issues like how to maintain safety for children and adults during Halloween and school. It is clear the outbreaks of spread related to schools happen due not to classroom spread but during after hours events, particularly parties and family gatherings where distancing and protocols are not enforced. Churches have a role in continuing to encourage their communities to love their neighbors by wearing masks, observing distancing, and being wise.