The news coming out of Jacksonville, Florida’s Impact Church is about as devastating as you can imagine: Over the course of 10 days, the (predominantly Black) church lost six members from COVID. Four of them were under 35. None of them were vaccinated.
BUT WAIT: Another 20 members are in the hospital. Another 10 people are at home dealing with symptoms from the virus. At least 5 others tested positive even if they’re currently asymptomatic.
Now Senior Pastor George Davis is sounding the alarm in the hopes that more people will get vaccinated. (He’s been pushing for vaccinations since they became available, in case you’re wondering.)
While his response is what you’d hope to see, I question the way he defended his church’s actions while mourning their losses:
During church services, Davis said the church requires masks, the auditorium is thoroughly cleaned in between services, it practices social distancing and offers hand sanitizer.
Davis said Friday he’s certain after speaking with the families of those members they contracted it from somewhere outside of the church.
Here’s what I take from that: Despite knowing a bunch of congregations members were probably unvaccinated, this church still decided to hold unnecessary in-person services rather than meet virtually. While social distancing may have been practiced, anyone who’s been to a large church knows damn well that you’re not going to keep people distanced for very long. (What do you think people are doing before and after services?)
And this is Florida! It’s COVID central right now. There’s no reason a pastor couldn’t just say, “If you want to come to services in the building, show us your vaccination cards.” Davis is reacting the right way, but imagine what could’ve happened if church leaders were more proactive about mandating vaccinations among their members. It would’ve been a controversial move, but we’re looking at the alternative right now and it’s horrific.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Scott for the link)