WV Council of Churches encouraging mask use in new PSA

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The West Virginia Council of Churches released two public service announcements this week – encouraging the use of masks and social distancing.

They come following repeated COVID-19 outbreaks at churches around the Mountain State.

“My sisters, honor your father…and your mother…love one another…wear a mask,” it begins.

It’s a message of unity and of looking out for each other encouraging people to wear masks, social distance and to wash their hands.

There’s also an interfaith version.

“We are all in the same boat,” said Bishop Sandra Ball, the president of the West Virginia Council of Churches.

Bishop Ball says more than 80 % of West Virginians are involved in a faith community according to the Pew Research Center.

“Wherever they find themselves, we’re making a call to make a difference in preventing the spread of the virus,” she said.

Making the matter more pressing is the reality that churches have become COVID-19 hot spots.

In July the North Charleston Apostolic Church was the center of a COVID-19 outbreak with more than 30 cases linked to the church, other neighboring states like Kentucky and Ohio have also had COVID-19 outbreaks in churches.

Bishop Ball says faith can coincide with online worship services.

“Whatever happens in that space we are also taking out into our communities,” she said.

When asked what her reaction is to those who argue God is in control and will protect them from COVID-19, or those who say if they can go to Wal-Mart they can go to Church, Bishop Ball says you can both believe in the healing power of faith and look out for others too.

“There’s a message in the Bible that says all things can be lawful but not all are beneficial. As Christians, we believe that God has called us to be good stewards of all God’s creations and God’s people,” she said.

This, she says, includes wearing a mask.

“The most loving thing that I can do for you or for anybody is to wear a mask because I recognize that you are valuable,” she said.

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