For nearly 50 years, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO) has served under-resourced and marginalized communities, cultivated unity, and promoted intersectional dialogue. Grounded in the Christian faith, EMO was born out of a vision to inspire people from every walk of life to work together for the common good by building a more sustainable, equitable, and just future for all Oregonians. It is the largest network of faith communities in the state and the largest organization of its kind in the entire country.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, EMO has been working with communities of faith across our state to mitigate the harm of COVID-19.
In the early days of quarantine, EMO set up meetings between Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Health Authority, and denominational leaders from around Oregon through our Common Table project.
This established critical lines of dialogue and information exchange between public health officials and community leaders.
Since then, EMO has continued to walk alongside faith-based organizations as they’ve navigated the many trials related to the pandemic. Resources have been provided to educate and orient people around social distancing guidelines in a wide range of settings, and long-established relationships of mutual trust have opened doors for vaccination centers in traditionally marginalized communities.
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's relational network has also created opportunities for dialogue around many of the hesitations and outright fears (historical and contemporary) that vaccinations evoke for some. Growing out of this engagement, the “Faith and the Vaccine” project was created to keep that dialogue going.
We asked leaders from across our state why they – as people of faith – chose to get vaccinated. The reasons are as varied as the leaders themselves, but their answers all grow out of a sacred conversation between their community traditions, public health information, and a deep concern for the common good.
In a time when faith communities are broadly characterized as “anti-vax,” we found the opposite to be true here in Oregon, and the testimony provided here by religious leaders demonstrates robust support for the COVID-19 vaccines. Of course, many leaders represent faith traditions that remain conflicted around the vaccines, but it’s our hope that these videos will stimulate mutual understanding and ongoing dialogue.
If you would like to be in touch with EMO about this work, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“But whoever has worldly goods and sees his brother or sister in need, and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God remain in him? Little children, let’s not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
-1 John 3:17-18