While the future of the pandemic remains uncertain, we know that one of the key tools we have to combat this — the most serious health emergency in a century — is the roll out of vaccines that provide some immunity from the more serious health risks. For too many, Covid-19 results in time spent on intensive care on a ventilator, with tragic numbers dying. This is not just another flu or serious cold, but a deadly infection.
There are many who have such serious reservations about the vaccines that they will refuse to take one when offered — perhaps 50% in some communities according to up-to-date evidence — and that is a cause of grave concern for the Government and for the churches. Churches Together in England is therefore supporting the vaccination programme and efforts to provide answers to the questions that many have (see a range of resource links below).
The speed of development and approval of the Covid-19 vaccines has been remarkable, however the story did not simply start a year ago, but rather begins in the years of previous research to understand both viruses and the human immune system. The urgency and severity of this pandemic has required accelerated approval processes, but they are, nonetheless, thorough and rigorous.
Leaders from some of the churches have already had their first dose of the vaccine — either because they fall into the age groups currently being offered a vaccination, or because they work in front-line contexts such as hospital chaplaincy. Others are waiting, but will seize the opportunity to have the vaccine, not only for their own safety, but because of the safety it will bring to the whole community.
Local churches and cathedrals are being used as vaccination hubs, church members are assisting with transport and volunteering at those hubs, and, of course, many of those working to deliver the vaccinations as health care professionals are themselves members of our churches. We pray for them and for all involved in this vaccination process, for resilience, hope and protection.
Churches Together in England is also working with the Government and people of all faiths and none, as we face this common challenge to our humanity. As we face this worldwide health emergency, now is the time to see how we can ‘love our neighbour as ourselves’, and as we do so, love God with all our heart, soul, mind and body.
This page will be updated regularly with vaccine-related initiatives, particularly those linked to our 50 national Member Churches:
Video and audio resources:
Two documents produced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government can be found here, ready to download and use:
On Sunday 28 March at 6.30 pm the Church of God of Prophecy hosted by Bishop Tedroy Powell and Churches Together in England Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural relations, Shermara Fletcher, will be back discussing the vaccine from a theological, holistic health and socio-political perspective. Joining the panel will be The Mayor of Bristol Marvin J Reeves, Director of NHS Race and Health Observatory Dr Habib Naqvi MBE, Professor Wilmore Webley of Microbiology at UMass Amherst, Dr Joan St John and Dr Marvin Sanguinetti. Watch the broadcast
Your Neighbour is launching #GiveHope to support churches talk to their communities about the vaccine programme
Watch a webinar on the Covid-19 vaccine: organised one of our 50 Member Churches, The Church of God of Prophecy, on Sunday 31 January, 6.30-8.30pm (see poster at bottom of page). The webinar featured a range of lecturers, medical professionals and Christian leaders, including Shermara Fletcher (who joins the CTE team as our Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations this March). Part 2 takes place on Sunday 7 February at 6.30pm.
Other church resources:
Jesus House is part of our national Member Church the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and led by CTE's Pentecostal President Pastor Agu Irukwu. In collaboration with the NHS, the church has successfully completed their temporary transformation into a pop-up vaccination clinic, as part of the on-going nationwide vaccination programme. Read more on the Keep the Faith website...