MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis pastors are encouraging people to get tested for COVID-19 despite their fears.
At many churches across Memphis, the power of the pulpit is being used to sound the alarm in the uphill battle to get more African-Americans tested for COVID-19.
Dr. Stacy Spencer is senior pastor at New Direction Christian Church.
“When you look at most cities, we are the minority, but the majority of the people who are dying and who are in the hospital with this thing,” Spencer said.
The pandemic is striking members of minority groups, especially African-Americans, at dramatically disproportional rates.
Bishop Ed Stephens is senior pastor at Golden Gate Cathedral.
“These are things you need to know, because you’re going to arm yourself with information and information is powerful and in this case information is lifesaving,” Stephens said.
Church Health offers free COVID-19 Testing. But Dr. Scott Morris, the founder and CEO, says the demand has decreased.
“Anything we can do to put to bed this urban myth that African-Americans cannot get the virus could not be more wrong,” Morris said.
Many who need to take the test aren’t doing so. Some out of concerns the nasal swab test is uncomfortable, and others out of fear.
“There’s misconception out there that being tested will you the the virus. That is not possible,” Morris said.
“Let me tell you something. It’s not as discomforting, if you will, as getting sick, getting infected or a premature death,” Stephens said.
It’s why pastors are coming together to dispel rumor, disparity and distrust.
“We must get tested early so that people who are prone to get the sickness can get in front of it and be healed quicker,” Spencer said.
Church leaders not just relying on faith. They plan on taking the test themselves, posting it on social media and working with Church Health AND Christ Community Health to get more African-Americans tested and possibly save lives in the battle against COVID-19.
“I can make this short and sweet like somebody said, ‘stay home and say yes to the test.’ That’s it,” Stephens said.