A Welcoming Church (post-vaccine)
Updated: Mar 21
The COVID-19 vaccination program is well underway. We are experiencing short-term distribution and availability problems, but it is reasonable to assume that these will be sorted out within the next couple of months. It is also reasonable to suppose that a significant number of church-goers will have received the second vaccination.
These people still have some vulnerability; the vaccine has an effectiveness of 95%, which is very good, but it is not 100%. Moreover, it appears as if the vaccine does not prevent a person from contracting the disease with mild symptoms, nor from spreading it to others. There is also a concern that new variants of the virus may be require new variants of the vaccine to be distributed. But risk can never be zero — at some point those who have had the shots have to say that the risk to do with his disease is now at an acceptable level, and that they are ready to resume normal activities.
But this situation creates a conundrum for many churches. Virtually all churches have a “Everybody Welcome” philosophy. No matter who you are, you welcome to be part of our community. But how are churches to handle those who have had the double vaccination, and those who have not? Will there be in-person services and meetings only for those who have been vaccinated?
One possible solution would be to wait for an additional three months or so until everyone has been vaccinated. But there will always be people who fall between the cracks, who miss appointments, for example, and are not fully protected. And how is the church to work with people who refuse to be vaccinated on principle?