As the Birmingham Faith Leaders’ Group, we want to thank the diverse Faith Communities across Birmingham for the way you have adapted and responded to the Coronavirus Pandemic. During the period of lockdown, we had to move to holding our prayers and services on-line and all of us had to experience significant religious festivals without being able to congregate or meet together face-to face. Despite this, faith groups stepped up to the challenge of creatively continuing to meet and worship, whilst at the same time working to care for the most vulnerable and needy in our community. It was notable that all this was undertaken whilst observing the strict social distancing rules, and places of worship were able to communicate with their congregations to ensure that people stayed safe and protected the NHS through these difficult months. We want to acknowledge the hard work that you have done and to thank you for being resilient, faithful and committed to your faith and to serving the community.

It has also been noticeable that throughout this time the faiths have worked together in their care for the vulnerable and needy, as well as collaborating in the work needed to be able to open places of worship safely. This has been an excellent example of how faith communities in Birmingham can, and do work well together.

We are now in a time of transition where some places of worship are able to open for private prayer or public worship, others are choosing to remain closed for now, for a variety of good reasons. We want to encourage you to continue the good work you have been doing in following the guidance on social distancing and cleanliness, and to continue to collaborate and support one another as we find ourselves in very different stages of opening up. If, at any stage in the future, we find ourselves having to go through another lockdown we are confident that the good will and collaboration demonstrated so far will carry us through whatever we may face.

May God bless you and the good work you continue to do.

Signed by the members of the Birmingham Faith Leaders’ Group:

• Chair, Birmingham Faith Leaders’ Group: John Beard, Mahayana Buddhists
• Vice Chair, Birmingham Faith Leaders’ Group: Rabbi Yossi Jacobs, Chief Minister, Singers Hill Synagogue
• Rt Rev David Urquhart, Church of England Bishop of Birmingham
• Most Rev Bernard Longley, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham
• Rev Ian Howarth, Chairman, Birmingham Methodist District
• Cllr Muhammad Afzal, Birmingham Central Mosque
• Bhai Sahib Dr Mohinder Singh, Chairman, Soho Road Gurdwara
• Amrick Singh Ubhi, Nishkam Community Association and Council of Sikh Gurdwaras
• Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi, Birmingham Progressive Synagogue
• Dinesh Chauhan, Birmingham Hindu Community
• Ven Dr Utteranyana, Buddhist Community