A presbyterian church in Lexington, Kentucky will not hold indoor church services until 70 percent of the city is vaccinated.
Leaders at First Presbyterian Church voted Monday on the issue.
“Tonight, my church leaders decided to not resume in-person worship until 70 percent of our city has been vaccinated. Also tonight, my spouses’s church leaders are bullying him into resuming in-person worship ASAP. Our incidence rates remain sky-high. I’m worried for our safety,” said Linda Kurtz, the church’s associate pastor of Christian formation.
As of Tuesday, Lexington had 30,569 cases of COVID-19 and 211 deaths, according to the Lexington Fayette County Health Department.
In an interview Kurtz said the church consulted with the Wisconsin Council of Churches and a church member who is a former public health commissioner for Kentucky.
In its reentry guide, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, a network of Christian churches, recommends against indoor worship when the vaccination rate in an area is less than 50 percent.
“First, watch vaccination rates,” the guide says. “When more than 50 percent of the population has been vaccinated, we can expect that it will begin to have an impact on viral transmission (although ‘herd immunity’ will not likely be fully reached until vaccination rates exceed 75 percent),” the group notes. “Our safer threshold for gathering is when cases are less than 5 per 100,000 population and positive tests less than 10 percent. Safest would be even lower.”
The reentry guide also reported that only 2.9 percent of people in Wisconsin are vaccinated.
“In light of these statistics, and the new, more highly transmissible COVID variant which is now circulating in the US, we recommend that churches abstain from gathering in physical space, indoors OR outdoors, at this time,” the guide says.
The guide also recommended that churches can encouraged people to get vaccinated, debunk myths about the vaccine and keep practicing social distancing and mask wearing.
“Expect these modifications to continue for a significant amount of time, perhaps this calendar year or longer,” the guide reads.
Photo courtesy: ©SparrowStock
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.