THE country’s main Christian churches on Thursday urged people to consider getting vaccinated against covid19, even saying God had once given Adam a “mandate” to be protective.
The statement, “Heads of Christian churches pray for optimism in 2022,” was issued by the Catholic Media Services Ltd (Camsel) and signed by the African Methodist Episcopal, Anglican, Methodist, Moravian, Presbyterian and RC churches and the TT Council of Evangelical Churches.
It said, “We have an obligation to keep each other safe and to educate all for the service of the common good.
“While you have a free choice concerning the vaccine, we urge you to see what modern science has done in fighting so many diseases that haunted the world 50 years ago: polio, measles, tetanus, flu, hepatitis B, mumps, chickenpox, malaria, etcetera. In the service of all, many were vaccinated.”
The statement urged all to make an informed moral choice to serve the common good, despite struggling with information on vaccination and the pandemic.
It reminded, “It has been repeatedly reported that 97 per cent of the deaths from covid19 are unvaccinated people.
“Amidst the hesitation, we urge you to seriously consider taking the vaccine and the booster.”
The churches said God gave Adam the “mandate to nurture and to guard,” while in 2022, everyone should keep each other safe.
The statement said 2021 had been “a year like no other in living memory.
“Our optimism entering 2021 gave way to realism and sometimes despair.”
The church leaders prayed for hope rather than optimism in 2022.
“While optimism believes things will get better, hope believes that even if things get worse, God will lead, guide and protect us against whatever comes our way.
“We ask you, as we enter 2022, to become a person of hope. Hope is believing the promises of God even when all evidence is against it.”
Expecting covid19 to be around for a while, the clergy urged people to use their God-given free will with responsibility so as to serve the common good.
“We need to learn to give our life for Christ’s sake and that of others.
“We appeal to all citizens of TT to live with the highest degree of discipline during this covid19 time for the sake of protecting others, especially the most vulnerable.”
They urged people to wash hands, wear masks and socially distance, and stay home if ill.
“We want to emphasise the need for each person to take responsibility for all.”
They said in-person worship requires much personal responsibility to curb any covid19 spread.
“We want our churches to welcome all people. This means that we need to make them safer than ‘a safe zone.’”
The churches also offered empathy.
“We are all suffering from covid19 protocol fatigue. This is not the time to waver. As a result of the lockdowns, many families have had loss of jobs, experienced depression, anxiety, physical, sexual and emotional abuse. We commiserate with the many families who have lost loved ones.”
The statement said churches must be places of hope where people can experience the love of Jesus Christ through worship and fellowship.
“As ministers of Christ, renewed in mind and heart, we need to work tirelessly for the reconciliation and harmony of all.
“Our nation has suffered from the cancer of divisiveness for many decades now. That must not happen amongst us.”
As a source of unity, the church must not let societal division between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated become a wedge.
“We must respect each other.”
This will demand new priorities plus dialogue amongst labour, economic stakeholders, civil society, religious leaders and government to find a way forward.
“Our heart goes out to the children who have not had the opportunity to socialise, play or congregate in school for the last 21 months.
“For their sake, let us find a way to build a better, safer Trinidad and Tobago in 2022. Remember this is a year of hope. Let us put our faith and trust in the Lord for He will not disappoint us.”
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