Editor: We write to you as United Methodist clergy serving churches from Leesburg and western Loudoun. The communities we collectively serve reflect a diverse array of age, race, gender, economics and political ideology. We love our communities deeply and care for their health and well being.
The past year and a half of this pandemic has been heartbreaking for our communities. As clergy, we have grieved with family members who have lost loved ones, as we also have lost one of our own colleagues at Bluemont and Roszell Chapel UMC to Covid-19. Our food pantries and outreach programs have seen increases of requests for assistance due to the economic downturn. We have seen a rise in cases of addictions and have worked hard to find ways to safely provide safe places for people to find support. We have walked beside people wrestling with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, sharing God’s presence with them in dark times and helping them to find the places in which they can receive the best help. Having witnessed this over the past year and a half we can say that our community is hurting.
Recently there was a feeling that we were out of the woods, but new variants have caused the virus to once again surge to substantial levels even here in Loudoun County. This disproportionately affects those who have not been vaccinated. There are many who are not eligible at this time to receive the vaccine, in particular children. For others, the vaccine may not be a viable option at the moment for a myriad of reasons. For those who are able to receive the vaccine and have not yet done so, we urge you to consider the vaccine for the benefit of the community.
We do not write this as a political statement on governmental laws, mandates, or policies taken by employers or businesses. Instead, we write as a personal plea, that just as our Holy Scripture tells us to “love our neighbor as ourselves,” we may live into the words of our Lord Jesus by considering, faithfully, what is loving for our neighbors and communities and seek to act in love for the vulnerable, the frontline workers, the businesses and all our neighbors of our community.
Blessings to you all, and thank you for being a wonderful community that loves and cares for their neighbors.
Rev. Joshua King, Bethany UMC
Rev. Hyunsik Kang, Bethel/Rehobeth UMC
Rev. Bruce Lugn, Bluemont/Roszell Chapel UMC
Rev. Ralph Carver, Ebenezer/Hillsboro UMC
Rev. Debra Lucas, Harmony UMC
Rev. Jim Wishmyer, Leesburg UMC
Rev. Heather Wray, Leesburg UMC
Rev. Tracey Lyons, Mt. Zion (Hamilton)/Mt.Zion (Leesburg)/ Willisville Chapel UMC
Rev. Daniel Wray, Round Hill UMC