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Faith leaders in Boise unite to encourage people to practice COVID-19 precautions

Several different faith leaders from several different religions teamed up to spread a message of Unity and Hope ahead of the holiday weekend.

BOISE, Idaho — Faith leaders from across Boise are coming together virtually for a unifying message of hope and to remind people about taking precautions against COVID-19.

The faith leaders come from a diverse background.  With Baptists, Methodists, Muslim, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Mormons and more. They decided to make a video to get their message out.

"We are all connected, all are important,” Rev. Jenny Hirst of Collister United Methodist Church said.

The video contains a message from each of the faith leaders. The theme of the message is to remind people that we are one community and we are all enduring this pandemic together.

"We love the vulnerable, the lonely, and those on the front lines of healing and supply chains,” said Rev. Michele Tae with Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism.

The message was to remind residents to continue taking precautions against COVID-19. The faith leaders used reasonings from their own holy scripture to explain why it is important to them to continue practicing precautions to protect others.

“The Torah says love your neighbor as yourself, so I wear a mask to protect you,” Rabbi Daniel Fink of Ahavath Beth Israel said.

The message comes as 174 Idahoans are currently hospitalized throughout the state with COVID-19, 46 of which are in the ICU. The latest data reported the highest hospitalization rate since February.

“We still think we're better together even in the efforts of pushing down the curve, flattening the curve as we wear our mask, as we social distance, and as we do our best to take care of each other,” Rev. Dr. Duane Anders of Cathedral of the Rockies said.

For Anders and Reshma Kamal from the Islamic Center of Boise, bridging the gap between religions was easy to do for this message.

“We come from different faith positions but what brings us together is that it’s all about being human,” Kamal said.

The Islamic Center in Boise continues to practice COVID-19 precautions to keep people safe and healthy.

“We are taking all the precautions, six feet social distancing, bringing your own prayer rugs, putting on your mask and cleaning your hands,” Kamal said.

The cathedral has been closed to in-person worship for the past year.

“We do drive-up worship at the Amity campus on Sundays, and we'll have an in-person on-the-lot worship on Sunday for Easter,” Anders said.

The “On the Lot” Easter service will take place across the street from the church in an empty lot. People can register online to get their free ticket. Once they arrive, they will be asked to social distance and wear a mask.

As people plan on gathering this weekend, these faith leaders have a message for others with more relaxed protocols.

“The message that we are trying to say is value human life because what exists now is gone in a moment of time,” Kamal said. “This pandemic has brought us so close to the frailty of human life.”

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