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Faith Leaders Contest Governor Kemp’s Premature Re-opening Efforts


April 21, 2020


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123
Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org, (540) 280-3393
Graham Younger, gyounger@faithinpubliclife.org, (678) 739-8584

Faith Leaders Contest Governor Kemp’s Premature Re-opening Efforts

Atlanta, Ga. — Gov. Brian Kemp announced a plan on Monday, April 20th to allow the reopening of businesses including gyms, barber shops, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys, and others, despite warnings from public health officials. This opening puts the lives of all Georgians at risk. Georgia faith leaders are urging against the reopening and asking their community to stay at home.  

Dr. Donny D. Green Sr., Bible Way Missionary Baptist Church, (Albany):

“My church will continue to be closed until there are more tests for the COVID-19 virus. The governor did not give a strategic plan on going forward and suggested that we continue online, drive up, etc. I have seen firsthand the results of this virus and can not in good conscience open up until I see the numbers going down instead of up. I refuse to put anyone’s life in danger.” 

Rabbi Peter Berg, The Temple, (Atlanta):

“Despite this recent announcement, I am urging our congregation to stay home, to stay safe, and to stay healthy. Health and safety must be our top priority. We will continue to operate The Temple remotely, including broadcasting our worship services. I look forward to our reuniting in our Sanctuary when the threat has passed.”

Min. Shavonne Williams, Founder Women of Wonder Outreach Ministry (Augusta):

“As a physician’s assistant and a minister of the Gospel, I believe in caring for all of God’s children spiritually and physically. This order will make our state less safe. Governor Kemp’s decision to re-open takes local power away from those who know the people they serve and who are charged with protecting their communities. I encourage everyone to stay home and stay healthy in the midst of this pandemic.” 

Dr. Joshua Nelson, Emanuel SDA Church, (Albany): 

“The situation in Albany is critical and we strongly discourage the reopening of Dougherty County or the surrounding counties for business.  All the hospital ICU’s are filled with COVID-19 patients and the recovery room has been modified to house regular ICU patients. Medical workers are working hard, but the deaths are taking a toll. Some of the local pastors have tried to keep staff encouraged by standing at a distance for a few hours at the entrance of the hospital and praying over medical workers.  We remain hopeful and determined to ensure the safety of all residents, especially the less fortunate.” 


Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, we are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level. Our network of 50,000 leaders engage in bold moral action that affirms our values and the human dignity of all.

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