Kansas City-area faith leaders aim to build trust among community in support of the COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 10:51 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 23:51:33-04

KANSAS CITY, MO — As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Kansas City, places of worship are welcoming their members back inside, with many vaccinated but some who are still hesitant.

“I delivered a message, a sermon, talking about how each one of us who is already vaccinated should help their neighbors and people around them, raise the question and share on why they were vaccinated,” said Rabbi Javier Cattapan, senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Torah.

Going along with the teachings of Judaism, Cattapan says for the members of his synagogue, it’s not a political stance to get vaccinated but a religious obligation.

“From a Jewish point of view, one of the things that we teach is that we should not rely on miracles, and the idea is that there is a proven vaccine that can save lives but can help you stay healthy,” Cattapan said.

Other faith leaders agree, saying it’s an obligation no matter what religion or denomination.

“For us not to do anything or say anything to me is detrimental, and so I think it’s very important that faith leaders get involved and express some type of truth,” said Reverend Eric Belt, St. Stephens Baptist Church pastor.

Reverend Eric Williams of Calvary Temple Baptist Church echoed Belt's concerns surrounding the severity of getting vaccinated.

“It may be prophetic in some ways because if we don’t get a handle on that, this room and others just like it will be empty because the people that sat there will be gone,” Williams said.

Right now, it’s needed more than ever that faith leaders and community members work together to keep the people of Kansas City safe.

“So if he’s getting it from God, and he’s encouraging us to do it, I don’t expect him to move out of what God is supposed to say,” said Cheyenne McGary, Calvary Temple Baptist Church member.

Faith leaders hope their efforts will protect as many community members as possible.

Belt said, “The message is transferred from the pastor to the people but then yet the people take the same message, so it’s not that we are able to reach everyone, but it’s a collective effort.”