Pastor Kelcy G.L. Steele of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church (New Haven, CT) released the following statement in response to President Trump’s call for churches to resume worship services:
I’m Kinda confused… Why did we need President Trump to declare churches essential? I mean, I’m glad he realizes that. But Christians already knew that. And, even churches that need to alter their worship experiences, have been tending to their flock with love and assistance in these times of need, right?
Churches are feeding, financially supporting, tending to elderly, proving support for school children, tending to first responders, providing space for testing, providing discipleship and soul care, assisting local and national efforts to keep proper medical information available to people, creating innovative worship experiences, online Bible studies, online small groups, helping people find new jobs, and so much more.
Let’s not forget that churches have helped facilitate many of the 94,000 funerals. And pastors, Rabbis, Imams, chaplains, and people of faith have been the source of strength and comfort during a ton of mourning and fear!
Is it that the president want us to reconvene in dense numbers, where (I know) many of the significant outbreaks of COVID-19 occurred just a little over a month ago! Many of the black bishops, pastors, black, brown, and white Christians and Jews contracted the disease in worship spaces! We know this from contact tracing.
We need more testing partnerships and not a president, who does not have a flattering reputation of worship attendance, who uses the church for impact in a statement for political advantage.