Get the Covid-19 vaccine, say Scottish faith leaders

(Photo: Unsplash/Michael Marais)

Churches in Scotland have joined other faiths in encouraging people to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

They are among the signatories of a joint letter by Scottish faith leaders voicing support for the Government vaccination programme aiming to innoculate up to 400,000 people across Scotland against coronavirus by the end of February. 

“We faith leaders in Scotland understand the difficulty that our communities are facing during this pandemic,” the letter reads.

“We urge all faith communities to take measures that will ensure their safety and the safety of others.

“Furthermore, we support the Covid-19 vaccination programme across the community and we encourage people to be vaccinated so that they keep themselves and their neighbours safe.”

The letter has been signed by Rev Dr George Whyte, Principal Clerk of the Church of Scotland General Assembly, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Scotland, the Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Dr Muhammad Rafiq Habib, Convenor of the Muslim Council of Scotland, and Rabbi Moshe Rubin, Senior Rabbi Of Scotland, among others.

While churches in Scotland have been forced to close for public worship during the latest national lockdown, Dr Whyte said they were still playing a vital role in the community, with a number of church buildings opening up across the country as vaccination centres. 

They include Morningside Parish Church, Edinburgh, and Dunfermline East Church, in Fife.

Scottish Catholic leaders have strongly opposed the suspension of public worship, while the Church of Scotland has been supportive of the measure. 

Dr Whyte said: “The Church of Scotland is working with the Scottish Government to ensure that local churches continue to be part of the effort to suppress the coronavirus outbreak by following the advice to stay at home as much as possible.

“We fully accept that the latest pandemic restrictions mean that we have to close churches again for the time being.

“While recognising that communal worship is an essential element of our faith, we also know that the Church remains present and active in our local communities even while buildings are closed.

“We will continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that reopening churches will happen as soon as it can be done safely.

“In the meantime, we are encouraged by the many church congregations across Scotland who are offering essential support -both spiritual and practical – to their local communities.” 

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