COVID-19 Update and Prayer Request

posted on August 03

Dear Friends,
Below please find a note to the Appalachian District Clergy from their Superintendent. One of their churches is experiencing a very difficult situation related to COVID-19, one I pray we can avoid:  

Greetings Appalachian District clergy.  I pray this email finds you doing well. I wanted to pass along a prayer request and make you aware of an incident in our District.  Please lift up Rev. Sam Lewis, newly appointed pastor at West Jefferson UMC, as he recovers from COVID.  Sam has been vaccinated but is part of a COVID outbreak that happened at West Jefferson UMC over the last two weeks.  They had 9 members of their choir and worship leadership contract COVID with symptoms, 7 of which were previously vaccinated.  The point of origin appears to be a choir rehearsal. One person is currently in critical condition at the hospital (who was not vaccinated).  The church has had to stop all worship while their leadership recovers.

I share this with you (with Sam’s permission) to first and foremost request prayers for Sam and the other affected persons at WJUMC who have been sick.  I also share this with you in hopes that you are meeting with your Health and Safety Teams to reassess your COVID practices and protocols this week.  I strongly encourage our churches to reinstate mask wearing for all persons, vaccinated or not, at your church gatherings and worship services.  Variant Delta is a serious matter that is much stronger than what we experienced last year, and breakthrough COVID for vaccinated persons is happening on a more regular basis.  Knowing what we know now, and the fact that almost all of our counties are experiencing an increasing outbreak of COVID that is moving fast and affecting the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, and especially given that children cannot be vaccinated but are also being affected in ways that was not previously the case, I pray that our churches will take this seriously and do all they can to protect the most vulnerable in our midst.  Vaccinated persons are getting sick. Vaccinated persons are known to be transmitters even if they aren’t symptomatic.  And the unvaccinated are the most vulnerable and at risk to get very sick, very fast.

Please encourage your staff, volunteers and members to get vaccinated as you are able and to take precautions to protect your flock as we navigate the weeks ahead.  If I can be helpful to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Grace and Peace,
Lory Beth

We remain concerned about transmissions at church, and we urge you to take appropriate precautions for your own health and the health of your congregations. Please pray for all involved in the situation, and especially for the person in critical condition at the hospital.
If we can help you in any way, please let us know.
Blessings of Peace and Health,
Rev. Beverly B. Coppley
District Superintendent
& Chief Missional Strategist

COVID19 Update and Prayer Request