UK’s black majority churches unite in support of Covid-19 vaccine rollout
- On Sunday 60 black majority church leaders issued a joint statement in support of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout
- Jesus House church in Brent Cross, north London opens as a pop up vaccination site in March
- The interdenominational initiative comes as a third of UK adults have received the first dose of the vaccine and follows a series of church-led Covid vaccine Q&A events and talks
60 of the UK’s black majority churches came together to deliver a powerful message about the Covid-19 vaccine to their congregations.
Black church leaders from across the country, some of whom have already had the jab, have joined forces to publicly demonstrate their support of the Covid-19 vaccine.
They said: “We support the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine programme, and we urge our congregations to seek out the facts about the vaccine from trusted sources. Faith in God demands action, so when it is my turn, I’ll be having my Covid-19 vaccine/I have already had my Covid-19 vaccine.”
The alliance of Christian leaders, which includes Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop Tedroy Powell, Reverend Canon Yemi Adedeji, Bishop Mike Royal, Reverend Yinka Oyekan and Bishop Dexter Edmund will encourage their members to seek information about the vaccine from reputable sources and underscore how getting the vaccine is a way to show love for their neighbours.
The Christian leaders felt compelled to inspire hope in the vaccine among their communities in response to data that shows black people are among those most likely to be hesitant about receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
This particular demonstration of support follows a series of online Q&A events and outreach work by majority black church leaders to dispel misinformation and ensure their members get the facts about the vaccine.
Pastor Agu Irukwu, Pastor of Jesus House and head of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in the UK, is hopeful that by sharing his confidence in the vaccine, members of his congregation will take it when they are invited to do so.
He has volunteered the use of Jesus House as a pop up vaccination site. Members of the church and people within the local community will be able to come along to the church in March to receive their Covid jab.
Pastor Agu said: “We are committed to doing the best we can in bringing reassurance about the Covid-19 vaccine to our congregation and wider community. We hope that having the church as a vaccination site will go some way in doing just that.”
On Thursday 25 February, Emmanuel Community Church International in Walthamstow, became the first black majority church to open its doors as a pop up vaccination site.
Rev Doug Williams, pastor Emmanuel Community Church International, who has had the vaccine, said: “As a church, we cannot dictate the choice our congregants make but we were happy to support a borough-wide initiative in Waltham Forest to encourage residents, specially black and Asian community members, to receive the vaccination.
For the church leaders involved in this synchronised action, the connection between taking the vaccine and Christian values is clear.”
Rt Revd Dr Woyin Karowei Dorgu, Bishop of Woolwich, said: “I believe it’s in keeping with God’s Word for us to love our neighbour as ourselves, as our Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 22:39, because in taking the vaccine we not only protect ourselves, but our family and friends and we also save the NHS. I had my vaccine when I was invited to do so a few weeks ago and I prayerfully advise everyone to do the same for the Love of God and neighbour.”
This most recent initiative has been organised by Christian umbrella organisations Churches Together in England, Evangelical Alliance and YourNeighbour.
I decided to go ahead and take the vaccine. I did not have to, but I am setting an example. Please do whatever your heart and conscience dictates. Don’t criticise those who take it or those who don’t.
Pastor Jonathan Oloyede, Senior Pastor and team leader at City Chapel
Thank God for the wisdom to develop a vaccine to help protect us from the Covid-19 virus in such a short time. I had my vaccine and I prayerfully advise everyone to do the same for the Love of God and neighbour.
Rt Revd Dr Woyin Karowei Dorgu, Bishop of Woolwich
The Seventh-day Adventist Church community, along with many other Christians, places strong emphasis on health and wellbeing. We value the health and safety of others not just ourself. For this reason, I and others will take the vaccine when offered.
Pastor Ian Sweeney, President Seventh-day Adventist Church UK & Ireland
I had the vaccine to safeguard myself and my neighbours from Covid. I hope you will choose to do the same when it’s your turn.
Bishop Dr E. A. Brown, Bishop at New Testament church of God, Brixton
When you are offered the COVID vaccine, please take it.
This is our chance to show we care for ourselves and our neighbours. Don’t let misinformation rob you of your opportunity to protect yourself and others.
Rt Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover
As Christians, we prayed for a way out of this pandemic and our prayers have been answered. That’s why I’ll be taking the Covid vaccine. We are committed to doing the best we can in bringing reassurance about the Covid-19 vaccine to our congregation and wider community. We hope that having Jesus House as a vaccination site will go some way in doing just that.
Pastor Agu Irukwu, Pastor of Jesus House and head of the Redeemed Christian Church of God
The vaccines are the best way to protect ourselves from Covid and offer a way out of the pandemic. Most importantly, they are safe. I’ve had mine and I urge you to get yours when you’re invited to.
Bishop Joe Aldred, Bishop of the Church of God of Prophecy
We have to do everything we can to stop the spread of Covid. That’s why, we should take the vaccine when it’s offered to us.
Yinka Oyekan, President Baptist Union Great Britain
Vaccines are not the enemy, the virus is. Please get vaccinated to protect yourself and others from this deadly disease.
Pastor Dr Temi Odejide, Faith Leader/Resident Pastor, House on the Rock church
I understand the fear and the concerns from our community. That’s why we must get the right information about the vaccine. Let’s save lives and stop the spread of this deadly pandemic by taking the vaccine. I have been vaccinated and I hope you will too.
Rev Canon Yemi Adedeji, Director of “One People Commission” at Evangelical Alliance UK