Missouri Pastors Urge Christians to Get Vaccinated - Word&Way

Hundreds of Missouri Pastors Urge Christians to Get Vaccinated

 

On July 15, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes for Health, called Missouri “the place that I’m most worried about” with COVID-19 cases. And Collins, who is outspoken about his evangelical faith, previously urged his fellow Christians to get vaccinated, arguing that “this really is a love-your-neighbor moment.”

Rev. Patricia Hailes Fears receives the vaccine. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

We agree with his concerns about Missouri and his understanding of vaccination as a love-your-neighbor act grounded in the sacred teachings of our faith. That is why we created this statement. And that is why more than 230 Christian pastors and ministers from across Missouri have signed it.

We hope you share this statement on social media. And if you are a minister in Missouri, we hope you will add your signature below.

Not vaccinated? Find out how to sign up today.

 

The Statement

As Christian pastors and ministers in Missouri, we recognize the ongoing public health crisis facing our communities is growing more urgent. The COVID-19 delta variant is creating a spike in coronavirus cases, straining our state’s hospitals, healthcare workers, and other medical resources. Local experts and officials are pleading for Missourians to get vaccinated against this devastating virus to alleviate these burdens and avoid unnecessary deaths. We add our voices to these cries.

Vaccine hesitancy in our pews puts our congregations and communities at greater risk. Given their safety and availability, receiving a vaccine is an easy way of living out Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). His warning against causing “little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2) also inspires our appeal, as every vaccinated adult helps protect our children under 12 who are still ineligible to receive the vaccines.

More than 10,000 Missourians — each made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) — have died from COVID-19. With that number rising daily, we lament the growing trauma in our communities. Praying for God’s deliverance from this disease, we encourage every follower of Jesus to realize their responsibility to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8). At this moment that means increasing vaccination rates in our community.

God’s healing touch can be known through the miracles of modern medicine. We pray every eligible Missourian will get a vaccine so that we all can find renewed freedom from the ravages of COVID-19.

 

Sign Statement

If you are a Missouri pastor or minister (current or retired), we would appreciate you adding your signature to support this statement. Together, we can love our neighbors and keep our communities healthy!

 

News Coverage

Word&Way has been encouraging vaccinations for months. It was the cover topic for the January issue of our magazine. We’ve also published numerous pieces on the topic in the magazine and online, including multiple editorials by Editor-in-Chief Brian Kaylor urging people to get vaccinated.

We appreciate the media coverage of our statement from more than 200 Missouri pastors and ministers that we released publicly on July 21. This includes reports by the Associated Press, Columbia Missourian, Jefferson City News-Tribune, Kansas City Star, KCUR, KMBC, KOLR, KOMU, KY3, Missouri Times, Springfield News-Leader, The Rachel Maddow Show, and USA Today.

 

Signers (as of Aug. 1)

(Organizations are listed for identification purposes only and do not imply institutional endorsement of the statement.)

Rev. Dr. Brian Kaylor
Word&Way
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Kristin Aardema Faigh
Zion United Church of Christ
Mayview, MO

Rev. Chris Abel
First United Methodist Church
Blue Springs, MO

Rev. Dr. Richard Adams
Trimble, MO

Rev. Carla Aday
Country Club Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Chris Agne
Arnold, MO

Rev. Karen Aitkens
Liberty, MO

Rev. Tom Albinson
The Church of St Michael and St George
St Louis, MO

Rev. Bob Atkinson
UCC Missouri Mid-South Conference
Independence, MO

Rev. David L. Avery
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Kristofer K. Avise-Rouse
Epiphany United Church of Christ
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Alan Bailey
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
California, MO

Rev. Charlie Bahn
Brentwood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Springfield, MO

Rev. Dr. Emmett Baker, Jr.
Beth/El Baptist Church
Spanish Lake, MO

Rev. Dr. John D. Baker
Columbia, MO

Rev. Nathan Baker
Liberty, MO

Rev. Debby Bartley
First St. Charles United Methodist Church
St. Charles, MO

Rev. Andrew Bartholomew
Redeemer Lutheran Church
Springfield, MO

Rev. Paul W. Bass
Springfield, MO

Dr. Bing Bayer
Bolivar, MO

Rev. Dr. Sanford Beckett
Second Baptist Church
Liberty, MO

Rev. Jim Bender
Nashville Baptist Church
Ashland, MO

Rev. Dr. John H Bennett
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Dr. Virginia L. Bennett
Grace Episcopal Church
Kirkwood, MO

Rev. Verlyn Bergen
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Dr. Lara Blackwood Pickrel
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Smithville, MO

Rev. Amelia Boler
Grant A.M.E. Church
Wentzville, MO

Rev. James Boler
Grant A.M.E. Church
Wentzville, MO

Rev. Emily Bowen-Marler
Brentwood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Springfield, MO

Rev. Linden Bowie
Zion Travelers M. B. Church
Missionary Baptist State Convention of Missouri
St. Louis, MO

Rev Barbara Bowser
Springfield, MO

Dr. James Bradford
Central Assembly of God
Springfield, MO

Rev. Bruce Bradley
Raymore, MO

Rev. Mark Briley
Broadway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Columbia, MO

Rev. Peter Browning
Drury University
Springfield, MO

Rev. Andy Bryan
Manchester United Methodist Church
Manchester, MO

Rev. Brad Bryan
Wilkes Blvd United Methodist Church
Columbia, MO

Rev. Jim Bryan
Missouri United Methodist Church
Columbia, MO

Rev. Susan L Buchanan
Springfield, MO

Rev. Dr. Stephen H. Buchholz
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Cynthia S. Bumb
Emmaus Homes
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Dennis Bunch
Liberty, MO

Rev. Timothy R. Butler
FaithTree Christian Fellowship
St. Charles, MO

Rev. Dr. Terrell Carter
Webster Groves Baptist Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Tom Casady II
Sweetwater Baptist Church
Neosho, MO

Rev. Kenneth L. Chumbley
Christ Episcopal Church
Springfield, MO

Donna Clark Fuller
Rockport and Watson United Methodist Churches
Rockport, MO

Rev. George L. Cleaves, Jr.
Christ Episcopal Church
St. Joseph, MO

Rev. Barbi Click
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Angie Colina McNeil
Country Club United Methodist Church
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Darryl Commings
Barak Christian Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Lu-Anne Conner
Transfiguration Episcopal Church
Lake St. Louis, MO

Rev. Nikki Cooley
First Presbyterian Church
Liberty, MO

Rev. Susan Cox
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Douglas Crabb
Hamilton, MO

Rev. Cody M. Creel
Hamilton Baptist Church
Hamilton, MO

Rev. Bryan Crousore
Columbia United Church of Christ
Columbia, MO

Rev. Kyle Damron
Kirkwood Baptist Church
Kirkwood, MO

Rev. Trevor Dancer
First United Methodist Church
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Dr. Teresa Danieley
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
St. Louis, MO

Ruling Elder Tony De La Rosa
Synod of Mid America, PCUSA
Liberty, MO

Rev. Liz Deveney
Trinity United Church of Christ
Lexington, MO

Rev. Camie Dewey
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church
Creve Coeur, MO

Rev. Maureen Dickmann
Rock Bridge Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Columbia, MO

Rev. Christopher Dixon
West Finley Baptist Church
Springfield, MO

Rev. Katrina Drew
Mt. Zion United Methodist Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Bill Dudley
Lebanon, MO

Rev. Rebecca Dunger Peak
Court Street United Methodist Church
Fulton, MO

Rev. Michael Dunnington
St. John’s Episcopal Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Lynn Dyke
Ridgedale, MO

Dr. Steve Easterwood
The Crossing
Kirksville, MO

Rev. W. T. Edmonson
Second Baptist Church
Jefferson City, MO

Pastor Darron LaMonte Edwards
United Believers Community Church
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Dr. Jason Edwards
Second Baptist Church
Liberty, MO

Rev. Alexis Engelbrecht
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Dr. Maria Evans
Christ Episcopal Church
Rolla, MO

Tamara Sager Everly
Chandler Baptist Church
Liberty, MO

Rev. Charles Everson
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Renee Fenner
Episcopal Church of All Saints and Ascension
Northwoods, MO

Pastor Lloyd Fields
Greater Gilgal Missionary Baptist Bible Church
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Cheryl Flaim
Mt. Zion United Methodist Church
Kirksville, MO

Rev. Dr. Brian W. Ford
Churchnet
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Chris Frankling
St. Charles Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
St. Charles, MO

Rev. Jody Furnas-Wright
National Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Springfield, MO

Rev. Amanda Gastreich
Eldon United Methodist Church
Eldon, MO

Rev Dr. Alan E. Gatewood
Bethel United Church of Christ
Concordia, MO

Dr. Neita Geilker
Second Baptist Church
Liberty, MO

Rev. David Gerth
Metropolitan Congregations United
St. Louis, MO

Rev Dr Cassandra Gould
Missouri Faith Voices
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Dr. Mike Graves
Country Club Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Kansas City, MO

Stephen Grayson
Memorial Baptist Church
Columbia, MO

Rev. Tish Green
First United Methodist Church
Festus, MO

Rev. Dr. Christopher Grundy
Eden Theological Seminary
Webster Groves, MO

Rev. Laura Guy
Living Water Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Parkville, MO

Rev. Dr. Kate Hanch
First St. Charles United Methodist Church
St. Charles, MO

Rev. Jennifer Harris Dault
St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Melissa Hatfield
First Baptist Church
Jefferson City, MO

Dr. Michael P. Haynes
Greene County Baptist Association
Springfield, MO

Rev. Kathleen Henrion
Arnold, MO

Rev. Dave Henry
First Presbyterian Church
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Dr. Keith D. Herron
St. Lucas United Church of Christ
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Dr. Bart Hildreth
First United Methodist Church
St. Charles, MO

Rev. Dr. James L. Hill
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Daniel Hilty
Campbell United Methodist Church
Springfield, MO

Rev. John W. Jackson
First Baptist Church
Farmington, MO

Rev. Martha Jolly
Columbia, MO

Rev. Collette R. Jones
California, MO

Dr. Stephen D. Jones
First Baptist Church
Kansas City, MO

Annette Joseph
Christ Church (Cape Girardeau) & St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (Sikeston)
Cape Girardeau, MO

Rev. Katlin Kampbell
Springfield, MO

Rev. David Kendrick
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Springfield, MO

Rev. Kerry Kesey
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Fayette, MO

Rev. Mark Kiekhaefer
Living Hope Church
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Dr. Paula Kindrick Hartsfield
Grace Episcopal Church
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Jim King
Versailles and Glensted United Methodist Churches
Versailles, MO

Rev. Brian S. Kirk
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Saint Joseph, MO

Rev. Damien Lake
UCC Missouri Mid-South Conference
Columbia, MO

Rev. Nick Larson
Columbia, MO

Jim Layman
Retired hospital chaplain
Kirkwood, MO

Rev. Jessie Lent
Zion United Church of Christ
St. Joseph, MO

Rev. Dr. Kristen J. Leslie
Eden Theological Seminary
Webster Groves, MO

Rev. Marvin Lindsay
First Presbyterian Church
Columbia, MO

Rev. Lance Long
First Baptist Church Of Crestwood
St. Louis, MO

Pastor Christie Love
The Connecting Grounds
Springfield, MO

Rev. Barbara Lynn Harper
Gilbert Memorial A.M.E. Church
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Angela Dionne Madden
First Presbyterian Church
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Charles Earl Mahan
Good Shepherd / St Luke’s Episcopal
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Kary Mann
Trinity Episcopal Church
Independence, MO

Rev. Taylor Mason
Kirkwood Baptist Church
Kirkwood, MO

Rev. Dottie Mathews
Unitarian Universalist Church
Columbia, MO

Don McBride
Vida Abundante Assembly of God
Neosho, MO

Rev. Gerold McBride
Lithium Baptist Church
Perryville, MO

Rev. David McDaniel
Holmeswood Baptist Church
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Brittany McDonald-Null
First Baptist Church
Columbia, MO

Fr. Todd McDowell
Grace Episcopal Church
Kirkwood, MO

Rev. Carrie McElfresh
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
Kirkwood, MO

Rev. Dr. Carol McEntyre
First Baptist Church
Columbia, MO

Rev. Kristie McGonegal
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Jeanie McGowan
Ashland, MO

Rev. Constance McNeill
Second Baptist Church
Liberty, MO

Pastor Steve Mechem
Second Baptist Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Dr. Alan Meyers
Oak Hill Presbyterian Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Carol Miles
Belton Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Belton, MO

Rev. Patrick Miller
The Crossing
Columbia, MO

Rev. Steven Mitchell
Cassidy United Methodist Church
Nixa, MO

Dr. Martin Mittelstadt
Evangel University
Springfield, MO

Rev. Molly Moore
Slater United Methodist Church
Slater, MO

Rev. Jeff Moore
Webster Groves Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Bruce W. Morgan
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Steven Moseley
Baptist Home – Chillicothe
Chillicothe, MO

Rev. Ryan Motter
Community Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Rebecca Mulford
Smithville United Methodist Church
Smithville, MO

Rev. Susan Naylor
Christ Church Cathedral
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Mary W. Nelson
UCC Missouri Mid-South Conference
St. Louis, MO

Pastor Steve Nelson
Dixie Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. William R. Nesbit, Jr.
Grace Episcopal Church
Jefferson City, MO

Jan Nutt
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Richard Oberle
Columbia United Church of Christ
Columbia, MO

Rev. Dr. Michael K. Olmsted
Springfield, MO

Rev. Terry Overfelt
Broadway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Columbia, MO

Rev. Michael Overton
First Baptist Church
Springfield, MO

Dr. Howard Wade Paris
Bolivar, MO

Rev Dale Parson
Independence, MO

Rev. Kevin Payne
First Baptist Church
Independence, MO

Rev. Chase Peeples
Park Hill Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Derrick L. Perkins, Sr.
Centennial Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
St. Louis, MO

Dr. Robert L. Perry
Bois Darc, MO

Rev. Harold Peters
United Methodist
Springfield, MO

Rev. Drew Phillips
Third Baptist Church
St. Louis, MO

Harold A. Phillips
Liberty, MO

Rev. Gary Ponder Williams
Lawson United Methodist Church
Lawson, MO

Rev. Dr. Nolan Porter
University Heights Baptist Church
Springfield, MO

Rev. Linda Potter
Faith United Methodist Church
St. Charles, MO

Dr. James Preston
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Melody S Pryor
Grace Street Church
Sullivan, MO

Rev. Dr. Micki Pulleyking
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Springfield, MO

Rev. Joey Pyle
Memorial Baptist Church
Columbia, MO

Rev. Dr. Jon H. Reinink
First Presbyterian Church
Columbia, MO

Rev. Jessica Richard
United Methodist
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Michael N. Riggs
Union Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
St. Louis, MO

Rev. William Rose-Heim
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Greater Kansas City
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Ken Rosenauer
Country Club, MO

Rev. Tiffany Ross
Festus Church of the Nazarene
Festus, MO

Rev. Dr. Alex Ruth
Marshfield Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Marshfield, MO

Rev. Tex Sample
Trinity United Methodist Church
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Susan Schmalzbauer
Nixa, MO

Rev. Eric Schmidt
Grace United Methodist Church
Cape Girardeau, MO

Rev. Timothy Schultz
Little Brushy Baptist Church
Wappapello, MO

Pastor Lindell Sconce
Vietnamese Baptist Church of Kansas City
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Leslie Scoopmire
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
Ellisville, MO

Rev. Judith Scott
Bethel United Church of Christ
North Kansas City, MO

Rev. Michelle Scott-Huffman
United Ministries in Higher Education
Springfield, MO

Rev. Dr. Valori Sherer
Calvary Episcopal Church
Columbia, MO

Dr. Randy B. Shipman
First Baptist Church
Clinton, MO

Rev. Jenn Simmons
National Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Springfield, MO

Rev. Donna Simon
St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church
Kansas City, MO

Rev. A. Rushan Sinnaduray
The Oasis United Church of Christ
Jefferson City, MO

Dr. Christian Sizemore
Liberty, MO

Rev. Dr. Marc D. Smith
Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Dr. Phil Snider
Brentwood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Springfield, MO

Dr. Gary Snowden
First Baptist Church Lee’s Summit
Lee’s Summit, MO

Rev. Peter Speropulos
The Church of St. Michael & St. George
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Alyssa Spradlin
Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Springfield, MO

Dr. Harlan Spurgeon
Springfield, MO

Rev. Christine Stancil
Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Ted Stanfield
Parkway Baptist Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Craig Stevenson
United Methodist Church
Hallsville, MO

Rev. Stacie Stickney-Williams
Arch United Methodist Church
Hannibal, MO

Rev. Emily L. Stirewalt
St. Luke’s Hospital
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Dr. Aune J. Strom
Rolla, MO

Fr. Ross W. Stuckey
Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church
Branson, MO

Rev. Richard Sullivan
Boone Hospital Center-Spiritual Care Services
Columbia, MO

Rev. Stephanie Swanson
Crossroads Church of Kansas City
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Dennis Swearngin
Columbia, MO

Dr. S. Craig Tally
Joplin, MO

Dr. Carol Taylor
Evangel University, retired
Springfield, MO

Rev. Dr. Owen Taylor
Sanctuary Fellowship Church
St. Louis, MO

Pastor Sean Taylor
Chandler Baptist Church
Liberty, MO

Rev. W.B. Tichenor
Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church
Columbia, MO

Rev. Beau Underwood
Word&Way
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Dr. Matthew Vandagriff
Kirkwood Baptist Church
Kirkwood, MO

Rev. Cheryl Walenta Gorvie
Gethsemane Lutheran Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Donna Watts
Kirkwood Baptist Church
St Louis, MO

Dr. Vaughn Weatherford
National Heights Baptist Church
Springfield, MO

Rev. Sally S. Weaver
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Webster Groves, MO

Rev. Robert Webb
Independence, MO

Rev. Dr. Carol Wesley
St. John & St James Episcopal Church
St. Louis, MO

Rev. Jim West
Columbia, MO

Rev. Tamsen E. Whistler
Trinity Episcopal Church
St. Charles, MO

Rev. Angela Williams
Montgomery City Christian Church
Montgomery City, MO

Rev. Steve Williams
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Rachel Williams-Glenn
St. Paul A.M.E. Church
Independence, MO

Dr. Philip O. Willoughby
Gracemor Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Kansas City, MO

Dr. Patrick Wilson
Salem Baptist Church
Rolla, MO

Rev. Richard Wiskus
All Saints Episcopal Church
Farmington, MO

Rev. Janie Wood
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Jim Wood
Kansas City, MO

Rev. Kimberley Woodruff
Quinn Chapel A.M.E.
Jefferson City, MO

Rev. Tracey Wolff
The Field Campus Ministry & Pitts Chapel UMC
Springfield, MO

Rev. Andrew Yakel
Fee Fee Baptist Church
Bridgeton, MO

Rev Kimi Yokoyama
Zion United Church of Christ
St. Joseph, MO

Josh Zahn
East Sunshine Church of Christ
Springfield, MO