The Episcopal bishop of Maine announced Tuesday that he will require all clergy and diocesan staff in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Bishop Thomas J. Brown’s announcement came a day after the Pfizer vaccine received full FDA approval and as more businesses are starting to require employees to get the vaccine. In recent weeks, religious leaders across the world have called for the faithful to be vaccinated.

Bishop Thomas James Brown of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine said, “The Church’s role in public discourse is to remind us of what it means to do what Jesus teaches: to love our neighbors as much as ourselves.” Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

“The Church’s role in public discourse is to remind us of what it means to do what Jesus teaches: to love our neighbors as much as ourselves,” Brown said in a statement. “In this case, it means prioritizing the common good and our community’s health.”

The mandate applies to 13 diocesan staff and about 230 clergy, including those who fill in for regular clergy, and retired clergy who may do home visits. Clergy and staff who are advised by their doctor not to get the vaccine will be exempt from the requirement.

“Public health agencies, governments, corporations, schools and not-for-profits are also announcing mandatory vaccinations,” Brown said. “We are not all doing this because we are heavy-handed, but because vaccinations are the best tool we have to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Maine includes 58 year-round churches, 18 summer chapels, Camp Bishopswood and three Jubilee Centers.


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