Interfaith letter to Gov. Ricketts urging a mask mandate

Dear Governor Ricketts:

Grace and peace to you in this season of gratitude. We write as Nebraska clergy to share our displeasure with your decision to refuse a mask mandate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are appalled that Nebraska is one of the few remaining states without a mask mandate. Nebraskan clergy are called to seek justice and love thy neighbor and we are asking you to uphold those principles. We are disappointed in your leadership of the great people of Nebraska.

As leaders in all faith traditions, we are asking you for action for these key areas:

  1. Issue an executive order mandating a face-covering requirement throughout the state
  2. Issue a statewide moratorium on evictions
  3. Pursue further investment in fighting food insecurity and housing crisis

Clergy and laity across the state of Nebraska will be engaging in a social media campaign using the hashtag #nebraskafaithCARES. The good people of Nebraska want to stand alongside their neighbors to bring equitable support for those who are disproportionately affected by the COVID crises. A near-unanimous cohort of medical and public health professionals believe there must be a mask mandate and we are encouraged there are more Nebraskans that share this belief.

Twenty percent of Nebraskans are currently facing food insecurity. In 2019, 2,365 Nebraskans were experiencing homelessness. We have to do better. The CARES Act has to be allocated in equitable ways to those who are the most vulnerable in Nebraska. Stronger communities mean a stronger Nebraska.

We are calling you to institute a mask mandate immediately. Your reason for not instituting this requirement is because of the low overall number of cases. Currently, our state is being drastically affected by the pandemic with over 2,000 Nebraskans being infected daily and a near-critical shortage of hospital beds. It is time for you to protect the people of this great state. Let it be so.

Signed,
Clergy and Laity from across the great State of Nebraska

Co-signed by Tri-Faith Initiative Clergy & Leadership
Rabbi Aryeh Azriel
Rabbi A. Brian Stoller
Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin
Cantor Joanna M. Alexander
Rev. Dr. Chris Alexander
Imam Mohamad Jamal Daoudi
Wendy Goldberg, Executive Director
Erik Servellon, Deputy Director

Sign the letter: tinyurl.com/MaskOnNE

Signatories (as of December 1, 2020)

Rev. Dr. Charlotte Abram, Retired Elder, Living Hope United Methodist

Rabbi Steven Abraham, Beth El Synagogue

Reverend Timothy Adams, Interim Pastor, Vine Congregational UCC

The Reverend Deacon Ralph Agar, St. Martha’s Episcopal Church

Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede, Lead Pastor, Saint Paul Benson UMC

Pastor Tim Amor, President, Beatrice Ministerial Association, and Pastor, Beatrice Mennonite Church

The Rev. Tim Anderson, Past Board Member, Tri-Faith Initiative

Dr. Derrick Anderson, Deacon, Zion Baptist Church

Phylis Andrews

Rev. Dr. Chad Anglemyer

Pastor Mary Avidano, Supply Preacher, United Church of Christ

Rev. Susan Babovec, PCUSA, Retired

Elizabeth Bady Member, Christ United Methodist Church Justice League of Lincoln, NE

Pastor Dean Bard, Lutheran

The Right Reverend J. Scott Barker, Bishop of the Diocese of Nebraska

Rev. Mandy Barkhaus, Pastor, St. Andrew’s UMC

Rev. Jeannie Bates

Pastoral Intern Maddi Baugous, First United Methodist Omaha

Archdeacon Betsy Bennett, Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska

Rev. Marcee Binder, United Methodist Church, Coordinator of Mission Outreach and Social Justice Ministries

Rev. Bethann Black, Maplewood UMC

Pastor Miriam Blair, Pastor, First Lutheran Church Omaha

Chaplain Trista Boling, Nebraska Medicine

Rev. Dr. Chad Boling, Pastor, United Methodist Church

Peter Bradley

Rev. Dr. Donald Bredthauer, First United Methodist Church

Rev. James Brewer, Retired Pastor, United Methodist Church

Chaplain Trista Boling, Hospital Chaplain, Nebraska Medicine

John Burger, Regional Director, Columban Fathers

Rev. Richard Burgess, Retired Pastor, United Methodist Church

Rev. Sally Carlson, Leadership Team, Presbytery of Missouri River Valley

Reverend Portia Cavitt, Pastor, Clair Memorial United Methodist Church

Reverend Michael Chamberlain, Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Omaha

Pastor Cathy Cole, Senior Pastor, Faith United Creighton and Center Congregational UCC

Rev. Dr. Sue Coller, Lead Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Lincoln

Pastor Gary Collins, Senior Pastor, Omaha Sharon Seventh-day Adventist Church

Pastor Jim Corson, United Methodist Church

Student Dr. Nathanael Crowfoot, Elder, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Chaplain Laurel Crusinberry, HoriSun Hospice

Reverend Susan P. Davies, United Methodist Church

Rev. Michael Davis, Retired, United Methodist Church

Reverend Owen Derrick, First Presbyterian, Tekamah

Rev. Sarah Dickinson, Pastor, Discovery Presbyterian Church

Pastor Raponzil Drake, D.Min., Retired, United Methodist Church

Parishioner Yolanda Dorsey, Parishioner, Solid Rock Christian Center

Brother James Dowd, OSB Incarnation Monastery

Associate Pastor Thomas Dummermuth, Eastridge Presbyterian Church

Rev. Dr. Stephen Earl, Interim Executive Presbyter

Sara Eliason

R.S.M. Associate Marylyn Felion, Retired, St. John’s, Creighton Campus

Rev. Jody Leahy Filipi, Retired, Presbyterian (PC-USA)

Gary Fischer

Rev. Dr. Nancy Flader

Rev. Dr. Jane Florence, Saint Paul UMC

Mary Lynn Focht, Sacred Heart Catholic Church Omaha 681

Professor Emerita Dr. Betsy Gabb, College of Arch-UNL

The Rev. James Gabb, Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska

Reverend Anne Gahn, Lead Pastor, First UMC Lexington

Reverend Doug Gahn, Pastor, Cozad United Methodist Church

Pastor Ralph Gaines

Reverend Sarah Gengler

Reverend Jon Gathje, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church-North Omaha

Rev. Gary George, Executive Director, Hospice House-The Josie Harper Residence

Daniel Gilbert, President, Temple Israel Board of Trustees

Rev. Gina Gile, Blair First United Methodist Church

Rev. Nancy Gillett, Chaplain, Nebraska Medicine, First Christian Church

Scott Goldberg, Student Rabbi, Temple Israel

Reverend Darrell Goodwin

Priest Amanda Gott Rector, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Lincoln

The Rev. William Graham

Associate Pastor Beth Graverholt, Christ United Methodist Church

Pastor Bray Hankins, Associate Pastor, Aldersgate UMC

Reverend Stefanie Hayes, Senior Pastor, Grace United Methodist Church

Sister Judith Healy Sister of Mercy – Higher Education, Sisters of Mercy

Kate Hennessy-Keimig, Trinity Episcpal Cathedral

Rev. Rebecca Hjelle, United Methodist Church

Teressa Hill, Director of Missions, Cathedral of Praise

Rev. Nita Hinds-Park, Minister of Pastoral Care, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church

Reverend Nona Hodder, First Christian Church (DOC)

Rev. Jeff Hopson, Heritage Presbyterian Church

Deacon Nancy Huston, The Episcopal Church of Nebraska

Rev. Dr. Janice Japp, United Methodist Church

Cathy Jenkins Walsh, Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Rev. Jerry Jerry, Teaching Pastor, Southview Christian Church

Rev. Dr. Melodie Jones Pointon, Eastridge Presbyterian Church

Rev. Dr. Scott Jones, Senior Minister, First Central Congregational United Church of Christ

Rev. Chris Jorgensen, Hanscom Park United Methodist Church

Dean Joy, Clergy, Retired

Reverend Kelly Karges, Senior Pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church

Rev. Nancy Kaye-Skinner, United Methodist Church

Rev. Dr. Lew Kaye-Skinner

Pastor Robert Keefer, Pastor, Presbyterian Church of the Master

Deacon Richard Kelly, Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska

Priest Verneda Kelly, Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska

The Rev. Steven King, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Omaha

Rev. Andrew Kitzing, Zion Lutheran, Lincoln

Rev. Lori E.L. Kitzing, Bethany Lutheran Church, Ruskin

Rev. Kyle Knapp

Deacon Ruth Kruse

Reverend Diana Kuhl

Rev. Eileen Kunz, NE Representative to the General Board of the Christian Church (DOC), Edenton Christian Church Lincoln

Rev. Dr. Damon Laaker

Monika Langner

Pastor Ralph Lassiter, Senior Pastor, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church

Pastor Everett Lerew

The Rev. Seth Leypoldt, Senior Pastor, Gering United Methodist Church

Rev. Amy Lippoldt, Senior Pastor, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

Pastor Albert Longe, Oxford United Methodist Church

Rev. Kayla Mangrich, Senior Pastor, Pleasanton & Havens Chapel United Methodist Churches

Rev. Steve Mason, Senior Pastor, SouthPointe Christian Church

Pastor Alvin McCruel, Pastor, Saint John Missionary Baptist Church

Rev. Debra McKnight, Founding Pastor, Urban Abbey UMC

Stated Clerk Raymond Meester, Homested Presbytery, Honorably Retired PCUSA clergy

Kris Morgan

Rev. Chris Morton, Regional Minister, Christian Church In Nebraska

Rev. Loren Mullins, United Methodist Church Clergy, Retired

Fr. Jerry Ness

Pastor Kerry O’Bryant, Lead Pastor, Southview Christian Church

Rev. Dr. Pamela Owens, Clergy on Staff, Metropolitan Community Church Omaha

Reverend Victoria Parker-Mothershed, Pastor, Bethel AME Church

The Reverend Denise Pass, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Plains and Peaks

Helen Paus, Licensed Pastor, United Methodist Church

Charles Peek, Rector in the Interim, St. Mark’s on the Campus, Lincoln, Nebraska

Pastor Chris Peters, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, NE

Reverend Nancy Phillips, Retired Pastor, Rockbrook United Methodist Church

Toukatha Phommakhanh

Pastor Jan Peterson, Senior Pastor, Augustana Lutheran Church

The Reverend Christine Plantz

Pastor Steve Pointon, Fourth Presbyterian Church

Pastor Brandon Proffitt, Trinity Chapel Church

V T Ramakrishnan, Hindu Temple

Senior Pastor Richard Randolph

LaGreer Randolph, Christ United Methodist Church, Lincoln

Pastor Mark Richardson, Dietz Memorial United Methodist Church

Pastor Fred Richart, United Methodist Church

Reverend Kim Roberts, RN, St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church

Rev. Dr Ron Roemmich

Rev. Dr. Stan Rone, Senior Pastor, The Worship Center

Rev. Kenneth Rood, United Methodist Church Clergy, Retired

Susan Rood

Dr. Rodolfo Mario, Sanchez Expresion Latina TV

Pastor Randy Sanders, Pastor, Arlington Community Church, UCC

Sr. Claudette Schiratti, RSM, Sister of Mercy

The Rev. Emily Schnabl, Rector, St. Martha’s Episcopal Church

Reverend Lyn Seiser, UNL UMC Campus Minister & Associate Pastor, Saint Paul UMC-Lincoln

Rev. Jimmy Shelbourn, Associate Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Stated Clerk Pat Shipley, Elder, Missouri River Valley Presbytery

Rev. Dr. Lisa Sherman, Pastor, Faith Christian Church

Clerk Mark Simpson, Clerk of Session, Niobrara-Verdel Presbyterian Church

Rev. Oscar Sinclair

Jeff Slater, Trinity United Methodist Church, Lincoln, Nebraska

Wendy Smith

Fr. Lorn Snow, SJ, Pastor of St. Johns at Creighton

Pastor Catherine Stander, Semi-Retired

Reverend Brigit Stevens, Executive Conference, Minister, Nebraska Conference – United Church of Christ

The Rev. David Stock

Rev. Dr. William H. Surber Jr., First United Methodist Church of Omaha

Rev. Russell Terman-White, Chaplain, First United Methodist Church

Reverend Ellie Thober

Reverend Glen Thomas, Pastor, St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church

Br. Jerry Thompson, OSB Incarnation Monastery, Omaha/Rector, St. James Church, Fremont

Rev. Dr. Nancy Tomlinson, Great Plains Annual Conference; Blue River and Elkhorn Valley District Superintendent

Reverend Ruth Tomlinson

Pastor Mary Beth Tuttle, Holmesville Church of the Brethren

Rev. Juan Carlos Veloso, Iglesia Comunitaria de Omaha

Pastor Bobby Waters, Senior Pastor, Bethesda Temple Seventh Day Adventist Church

Rev. Karen Watson, All Saints Episcopal Church

Rev. Marta Wheeler, Associate Pastor, Saint Paul Benson UMC

Rev. April Wegehaupt

Pastor Duane Westing, Retired

Reverend Carla White, Omaha, Nebraska

Rev. Dr. Lee Wigert, Senior Pastor, Plattsmouth First United Methodist Church

Rev. William Williams, United Methodist Church, Pastor, Retired

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson

Jena Wilson, CUMC

Reverend Carol Windrum

Kenneth Winston, Nebraska Interfaith Power & Light

Rev. Zac Wolfe, Pastor of Presbyterian Church of Beatrice

Deacon Joan Wood, Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska

Shari Woodbury Minister, First Unitarian Church of Omaha

Reverend Dale Wratchford, Manager, Pastoral and Spiritual Care, Children’s Hospital and Medical Center

Pastor Jeff Wulf, Pastor, Faith United Methodist Church

The Reverend Canon Judi Yeates

Robin Zagurski

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