Pastor’s Ponderings

Some of the latest statistics around Covid-19 have made it very obvious and clear that, while we as a country are doing very well in our fight against Covid-19, we are still not out of the woods just yet. Because there are still places where Covid-19 is spreading and taking its toll on the health of those in the community, overrunning their hospitals and putting a severe strain upon health care workers, many people are still dying from this disease.  We need to continue to do our very best to prevent the disease from spreading and we must lift up our health care workers and those who have contracted Covid-19 in our prayers.

I, as a religious leader along with other religious leaders in our Methodist Denomination and religious leaders in all denominations throughout our country, am being encouraged to speak in favor of vaccinations for those in our churches and in our communities as well. Just today I learned that while we are approaching the 70% level of those who are eligible being vaccinated, we still have many people who are not, and the incidence of Covid-19 is on the rise with many getting sick and some succumbing to the disease. Of those who are fully vaccinated about 3% could still test positive and show signs of Covid-19 illness. The most positive aspect of our fight is that fewer than one percent who have been fully vaccinated and contract Covid-19 will die from the disease. This is the most positive outcome that could be expected. The newest statistics reported tell us that 99.5 percent of those who contracted Covid-19, primarily through the more transmissible new Delta Strain, are unvaccinated. This means that those who choose not to be vaccinated continue to spread the disease to others who choose not to be vaccinated, and they spread the disease to both those who because of other illnesses are not able to be vaccinated and our young people under the age of 12 who as of yet cannot be vaccinated. All have a much higher possibility of contracting the disease. The more Covid-19 is allowed to spread the higher the possibility of additional strains more contagious or deadly developing. This brings me to an issue that I have been walking very closely with as not to offend those who choose not to be vaccinated.  I as a shepherd to my flock must make a statement and take a stance that those who are eligible to be vaccinated should be vaccinated against Covid-19. This should be done to protect those who have illnesses that do not allow them to be vaccinated and our young children who at the present time cannot be given the vaccine. We must as Christians, as United Methodists and as society be responsible individuals and be vaccinated for the better good of all our society. Yes, I know that means we may be giving up some of our own independence and freedom for the good of others.  If we truly say and believe that we love our sisters and brothers then we will give a little of our own independence for the better good of those we love by putting our words into action.

The research on our three vaccines have shown very few side effects and the chance of becoming sick or dying from the vaccines is far less than getting Covid-19. So why would you take such a chance and not be vaccinated? We as United Methodists who support our social principles are not to place our monies and lives in the hand of chance and gamble with our health and life. Vaccines work and we should protect not only ourselves but our world as well.

There is so much more that can be said about how Covid-19 has impacted not only how we have lived for the past year and a half, but how it will impact us in the future. Maybe we can look at these things in another newsletter or message(s) on Sunday. I welcome your input. My intent in writing this pondering is not to offend anyone, but to give reason and to encourage vaccination for all who are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Live in Peace and Love.

Pastor Gary

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