A Statement by the Birmingham Faith Leaders’ Group in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic

The current Coronavirus Pandemic has correctly been described as the greatest challenge of this generation. We recognise that the rapid spread of the virus throughout the world is unprecedented in modern times. It speaks of profound realities about both the limitations of human understanding and capabilities and our capacity to work together for the good of the whole of humanity.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with those who suffer through the impact of Coronavirus. We remember and wish to stand with those who face the loss of jobs, businesses, livelihoods and homes. Particularly we remember those who have died, especially those in the Birmingham community, and for those who grieve the loss of loved ones.

We recognise and give thanks for the skills which enable humanity to fight this threat. We commend and give thanks for the skill and dedication of those working in the health and care services, often putting their own wellbeing at risk for the sake of others. We pledge to work in any way possible with Birmingham City Council and others in co-ordinated efforts to support those affected by the impact of the virus.

We are encouraged by the growing recognition that faith can offer a framework for understanding what is happening.

We commend the wisdom of the many statements over recent days, from leaders across our faith communities. We particularly value the fact that common themes are emerging from the different faith traditions. We are being directed towards a recognition of our interdependence and our responsibility towards the vulnerable in society. The priority of the wellbeing of others leads us to good works for the relief of suffering, and the recognition that our spiritual practices, rituals and worship are to be used in the service of the common good, and not as ends in themselves. Our practices as people of faith help to unite rather than divide us from one another. Therefore, it has been possible for all our major faith communities to recognise that limitations on coming together are necessary at this time.

We encourage all people of faith to follow the recommendations of their leaders in acting for the greater good of humanity. We welcome the opportunities which the current crisis offers to find new ways to be communities of faith.

We advocate collaborative action wherever possible; a determination to serve the whole community rather than focusing only on our own particular part of the community.

Above all, we call on all people, during these difficult times, to live as people of hope; that the threat we all face can be overcome, and that we will emerge stronger, more resilient and wiser from the experience.

19th March 2020

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