NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Door to door, at bus stops and street corners, the Rev. Geoffrey Guns, pastor of Second Calvary Baptist Church in Norfolk, has taken the COVID-19 vaccine to the people.
As the nation enters the third year of the pandemic, Guns reflected on how the health crisis has affected the community and the church.
Regina Mobley: “What has happened to the community as we enter the third year of the pandemic?”
Rev. Geoffrey Guns: “We could not have anticipated that going on to the third year we would not still be dealing with this pandemic and that we would still be dealing with persons and individuals who are still reluctant to be vaccinated — not only to be vaccinated themselves — but to have their children vaccinated… We are still continuing to have the same problems going back a year.”
Guns accelerated his community response in July when a Norfolk teenager became the region’s first juvenile fatality of COVID-19.
Schwanda Corporew died in her Young Terrace home a few days after becoming ill with what her mother thought was a minor illness.
Routinely, Guns goes door-to-door in Young Terrace to encourage the hesitant to roll up their sleeves.
As the infection numbers soar, Guns on Sunday, Jan. 9, will host a vaccination clinic at his Corprew Avenue church from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The life-saving first shots and boosters will be given to those who qualify, including children.
Regina Mobley: “How has the pandemic affected the church and we are now going into the third year?”
Pastor Guns: “That’s a really interesting question. There are churches that have not reopened. That’s a real struggle and we reopened in March of 2021, and what we have seen is we have not seen a full return of the congregation back to in-person worship. We have a large number of people who are worshipping virtually and I’ve shared with pastors that you can expect that a number of your people will be coming back to in-person worship.
“It [the pandemic] has changed our teaching ministry; it has changed our fellowship; it has changed everything that we do and keeping the congregation connected has been a real challenge.”
Regina Mobley: “Tell me about some of the stories you have heard from people as to why they have refused to get the vaccine?”
Pastor Guns: “The number one story that people are giving is they don’t trust the government. They don’t know what’s in the vaccine. They are covered by the blood of Jesus. They’ve had COVID and therefore they are immune. They are afraid that they may get COVID. They have heard that people have taken the vaccine and they died shortly thereafter.”
Regina Mobley: “Pastor, how do you address ‘the blood of Jesus?'”
Pastor Guns: “My response to that is the blood of Jesus protects them from sins; the vaccine covers the virus. There is no connection between the blood of Jesus and the sacrificial death of Jesus and the spread whether it’s omicron or another variant. There is no connection whatsoever. Medicine and the doctors are all a gift from God that allows us to live in the context we are living now.”