The community is celebrating a return to the new normal this summer. Restaurants are open. People gather to enjoy music on Wednesday evenings at Roy Raley Park. “Let’s Get Wild in Pendleton” brings people downtown on Saturday evenings for fun and connection. Houses of worship see more and more people returning to in-person services.

The community calendar is filled with events that were sorely missed in 2020. The Pendleton Whisky Music Fest brought people together from near and far. Everyone looked forward to the HotRod-A-Rama. The renowned Pendleton Round-Up promises to be a highlight of the year.

However, the COVID-19 delta variant, increasing infection rates and low vaccination numbers, puts all of these beloved community events at risk. Closer to home, many of our neighbors are unable to be vaccinated due to their age or medical condition. No one in the community wants to bear the responsibility for passing the virus to a child or a vulnerable neighbor. The clearest way to avoid this scenario is to get vaccinated if you are able to do so.

The scientific data shows that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to keep one another safe. The shot is highly effective. It has few side effects.

Of course, every American has the freedom and the right to refuse to be vaccinated, but doesn't our responsibility to care for one another and our community call each of us to a higher mandate for the greater good? We are urging everyone to set aside political agendas and to reject misinformation and unfounded fears. Please get the shot if you are able — for your own sake, for the sake of your friends and neighbors, and for the health our entire community.

Pendleton, we can beat COVID-19 together! Take care of yourself. Take care of your neighbors. If you are able to get the shot, please do so as soon as possible.

Rev. Karyn Dix, Rev. Ann Marie Hardin, Rev. Travis Larsen, Rev. Scott Little, Rev. Jonathan Mitchell, Pastor Patty Nance, Rev. Charlotte Wells


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