Newark church celebrates COVID-19 resiliency with ‘Day of Hope and Healing’
Newark’s Metropolitan Baptist Church held a special service called “Day of Hope and Healing” to mark their accomplishment of getting their community tested and vaccinated.
Reverend Dr. David Jefferson, Sr. describes seeing people back in the pews as “inspirational.”
“When we could see individuals coming back, walking down those pews, I have to tell you that was so heartwarming,” says Jefferson.
The pastor described the last two years as devastating for the church. However, vaccination efforts through the Choose Healthy Life initiative have brought members back.
Choose Healthy Life addresses public health disparities and inequities in the Black community through the Black church. Founder Debra Fraser says the church “is the one place where Black people gather to get information.”
“We had to go to the people that we trusted and have them reach out to the people in the community and bring the people in,” says Fraser.
Sunday’s celebration is not just a celebration of testing and vaccinations for COVID-19. They are also celebrating a healthy life. Through Choose Healthy Life, they have addressed other medical issues that hurt the African American community at higher rates such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
“We now have an army ready to deal with those things on the community level,” says Fraser.
Members of the church were able to get tested and take at-home COVID-19 testing kits. Nine of the 120 churches across the country that participate in the initiative are located in Newark.