Rev. Dr. Richard Gentzler, Jr.

Dear Church Leader,

The Bible begins with God taking a formless, empty, and dark earth and creating life in God’s image and declaring everything good (Genesis 1:1-31). Since we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), we understand ourselves to be co-creators with God. As co-creators, we can be grateful for the fact that the world’s scientists collaborated in new ways over a very short time frame to create several vaccines at an unprecedented speed. The development and rollout of the various vaccines to combat COVID-19 is a great benefit to humankind.

However, the virus is still present. We must keep in mind the pre-existing health conditions of many older adults. Even with the vaccines’ effectiveness and speed of their rollout, many more people will likely die in the months ahead. What continues to be of upmost importance for older adults’ safety over the next few months is a combination of mask wearing, social distancing, and getting vaccinated.

As church leaders, let us be vigilant and help older adults continue taking all necessary safety precautions. Encourage all members, including older adults, to get vaccinated. The State of Tennessee’s website, https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/, informs Tennesseans about COVID-19 vaccinations and enables each person to sign up for special COVID-19 announcements from the state.

Share with your congregation the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines concerning daily activities during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread
  • If you engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing or sanitizing your hands frequently
  • Keep these items on hand when venturing out: a face mask, tissue, and hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol

Prayerfully, the pandemic won’t last forever and we will begin a new normal. May God bless and guide you in your ministry by, with, and for older adults.

Grace and peace,

Richard H. Gentzler, Jr., D.Min.

Director, ENCORE Ministry