Faith leaders join Beshears at Capitol for vaccination

Religious leaders of several faiths and denominations joined Gov. Andy Beshear at the Kentucky Capitol last Thursday to take the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage others to do so when they have the opportunity.

With concerns across the state and country about the equitable distribution of vaccines, Beshear reached out to faith leaders to educate communities and address people’s hesitation.

At least 50 faith leaders had received their vaccinations in the Capitol Rotunda in the past two weeks. More than 20 of them were in Frankfort Thursday with Beshear and his wife Britainy Beshear to plant American flags on the lawn of the Capitol for the more than 3,800 Kentuckians lost to COVID.

“No one is more trusted in their communities than our faith leaders, who work every day to better the lives of those in their congregations and communities,” Beshear said in statement. “Thank you to our faith leaders for again setting the example by rolling up their sleeves to get the vaccine and encouraging others to be vaccinated. They have a powerful voice and platform, and I appreciate them using it.”

“This vaccine is a step towards reclaiming our lives as individuals and as a community. It is a moral imperative that when one is able to do so, one should take the vaccine,” said the Rev. Dr. Charisse L. Gillett, President of Lexington Theological Seminary.

The Rev. Dr. Donald K. Gillett II, executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, stated: “I believe that the opportunity to take the vaccine is not only a biblical mandate in expressing love for one’s neighbor but as African-American pastors it is vital that we do so. We must not let our historical and current legitimate concerns about the medical treatment of the African-American community impede us from taking this vaccine.”

“The Lubavitcher Rebbe, the foremost leader of world Judaism in the modern era, when asked about medical advice would often say you should speak to a doctor who is a friend. The Rebbe pointed out that trust is an integral part of the medical process,” said Rabbi Shlomo Litvin of Chabad of the Bluegrass in Lexington.

“Today, we’re working with the governor to inspire that trust in the community, so I got my vaccine. I hope you get yours and trust the process, believe in your community, and together we can get through this.”

Bishop John Stowe of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, said: “I just received my vaccination for COVID-19 and hope all of our faithful will do the same. This promotes the common good and helps us to promote a healthier Kentucky.”

“As leaders of faith communities, we want to encourage all to receive the vaccine as a mark of love for our neighbors. A strange gesture in strange times, but an effective one nonetheless,” the Rt. Rev. Mark Van Koevering, VIII Bishop of Lexington, The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington.