UK’s black majority churches unite in support of COVID-19 vaccine rollout

On Sunday 28 February 60 of the UK’s black majority churches came together to deliver a powerful message about the COVID-19 vaccine to their congregations.

Black church leaders from across the country, some of whom have already had the jab, have joined forces to publicly demonstrate their support of the COVID-19 vaccine.

They stated: “We support the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, and we urge our congregations to seek out the facts about the vaccine from trusted sources. Faith in God demands action, so when it is my turn, I’ll be having my COVID-19 vaccine/I have already had my COVID-19 vaccine.”

The alliance of Christian leaders includes Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Apostle Alfred Williams, Bishop Tedroy Powell, Reverend Canon Yemi Adedeji, Bishop Mike Royal, Reverend Yinka Oyekan and Bishop Dexter Edmund who will encourage their members to seek information about the vaccine from reputable sources and underscore how getting the vaccine is a way to show love for their neighbours.

Bishop Wale Olulana
received his dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and reassures the BAME Christians that the inoculations are safe

The Christian leaders felt compelled to inspire hope in the vaccine among their communities in response to data that shows black people are among those most likely to be hesitant about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

This particular demonstration of support follows a series of online Q&A events and outreach work by majority-black church leaders to dispel misinformation and ensure their members get the facts about the vaccine.

Pastor Agu Irukwu, Pastor of Jesus House and head of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in the UK, is hopeful that by sharing his confidence in the vaccine, members of his congregation will take it when they are invited to do so.

He has volunteered the use of Jesus House as a pop-up vaccination site. Members of the church and people within the local community will be able to come along to the church in March to receive their COVID jab.

Pastor Agu said: “We are committed to doing the best we can in bringing reassurance about the COVID-19 vaccine to our congregation and the wider community. We hope that having the church as a vaccination site will go some way in doing just that.”

On Thursday 25 February, Emmanuel Community Church International in Walthamstow, became the first black majority church to open its doors as a pop-up vaccination site.

Rev Doug Williams, pastor Emmanuel Community Church International, who has had the vaccine, said: “As a church, we cannot dictate the freedom of choice our congregants make but, we were happy as a church to support a borough-wide initiative in Waltham Forest to encourage residents, especially black and Asian community members, to receive the vaccination.”

For the church leaders involved in this synchronised action, the connection between taking the vaccine and Christian values is clear.

Rt Revd Dr Woyin Karowei Dorgu, Bishop of Woolwich, said: “I believe it’s in keeping with God’s Word for us to love our neighbour as ourselves, as our Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 22:39, in taking the vaccine we not only protect ourselves, but our family and friends and we also save the NHS. I had my vaccine when I was invited to do so a few weeks ago and I prayerfully advise everyone to do the same for the Love of God and neighbour.”

Pastor Janet Adisa the senior minister at Good News, Dartford, said, “We all (Christian leaders) have been praying that God should eradicate COVID-19, and now God has answered our prayers through the vehicle of the vaccination.”

Pastor Muyiwa Obasa of Goshen Light in Bexleyheath, said, “We’ve prayed for wisdom for the scientists, now they’ve got the wisdom. I strongly support the use of the vaccine.”

The award-winning leadership and transformational coach, Pastor Lola Owolabi, (Everlasting Arms Ministry, Old Kent Road, London) explained, “I will have the vaccine in any case, so I am happy to endorse it.”

Bishop Michael Hutton Wood (House of Judah, Croydon) told Testify Newspaper, “I had mine already. It is only right to encourage everyone else to do so.”

Bishop (Dr) Daniel Adewale King, affirms his support by saying, “Yes, I am in support of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.”

Bishop Wale Olulana – Harmony Christian Centre, Dagenham, Kent sent his photographic evidence to Testify Newspaper and said, “I am not against the vaccine, not at all. In fact, I received mine already. As a frontline community worker, our local council is counting on us to encourage others.”

Apostle Alfred Williams, the general overseer of Christfaith Tabernacle, told Testify Newspaper, “I am strongly in support of the vaccination. Not only that, I will get the medical doctors in my congregation and regional pastors to address our congregations in all our branches to take the vaccination as well.”

Apostle Williams concluded, “Why would we pray for healing and not want to endorse the vaccination that would heal us?”

The full list of the signatories are:

Rev Canon Yemi Adedeji
Director of “One People Commission” Evangelical Alliance UK

Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Bishop of Dover

Bishop Joe Aldred
Church of God of Prophecy

Bishop Mike Royal
Co-Chief Executive of Cinnamon
Network, UK

Lurliene Miller
Churches Together in England
Trustee and Vice Chair

Yinka Oyekan
President Baptist Union Great Britain

Rt Rev Moses Owusu-Sekyer
Presiding Bishop: Word of Faith Mission

Dr Temi Odejide
Faith Leader/Resident Pastor

Pastor Zuby Okemefuna
House on the Rock church

Bishop Tedroy Powell
National presiding Bishop in UK, Holland & Belgium, House of Bread – Church of God of Prophecy

Pastor Agu Irukwu
Chairman of the board of trustees and executive council, RCCG

Rt Revd Dr Woyin Karowei Dorgu
Bishop of Woolwich

Bishop Delroy Powell
National Presiding Bishop, New Testament Assembly

Pastor Jonathan Oloyede
Sr Pastor and team leader at City Chapel

Pastor Ian Sweeney
President of Seventh-day Adventist Church UK & Ireland

Bishop Dr Eric A Brown
Bishop at New Testament church of God Brixton

Bishop Dexter Edmund
Head of Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic

Bishop Lennox Hamilton
Sr Pastor of Greater Faith Ministries

Edward Sterling
Pastor of New Testament Church of God Bradford

Superior Evangelist Samson Jegede
Minister in Charge, Celestial Church of Christ, Unlimited Grace Parish London, Secretary, CCC UK Diocese Central London Province

His Lordship the Rt Rev. Emmanuel Babatunde Gbogboade
Diocesan provincial administrator, Church of the Lord Worldwide

Superior Evangelist Paul Tunde Soile

Hon. Secretary, Council of African &
Caribbean Churches, UK

Bishop Jonathan Jackson
Sr Minister
New Testament Church of the Rock

Rev Nezlin Sterling
New Testament Assembly (NTA)

Archbishop Doye Agama
Metropolitan (Emeritus) AP Congress Abbot General, Order of St Hadrian

Rev Doug Williams
Emmanuel Community Church

Rev Cassius Francis
Sr Pastor, Wesleyan Holiness Church

Bishop Deverton Douglas
Senior Pastor and Overseer of the Handsworth district

Bishop Ian Patterson-Sharpe PhD
Presiding Bishop at Rehoboth
International Christian Centre

Dr David Muir, Director
Centre for Pentecostalism & Community Engagement, Co-Chair, National Church Leaders Forum (NCLF)

Pastor Marjorie Esomowei
Co-Pastor, President and founder of
Wisdom for Women International

Pastor Seyi Femi-Adeniyi
Pastor (RCCG)

Pastor Babatunde Michael Fashoyin
Pastor (RCCG)

Pastor Femi Adebajo
Pastor (RCCG)

Reverend Israel Oluwole Olofinjana
Pastor of Woolwich Central Baptist Church

Pastor Kayode Ojo
Pastor (RCCG) Croydon Tabernacle

Pastor Olukunle Ayodele
Pastor (RCCG) King’s Chapel

Pastor Dionne Lamont
Sr Pastor, Perfecting Dunamis UK

Deinde Karunwi
Pastor, Lighthouse Christian Fellowship

Reverend Donnonvan Allen
Sr Pastor of NTCG

Rev. Davey Johnson
Pastor of New Testament Church of God Espainos Ministries Congregation

Pastor Shola Olapido
CEO of Food For Purpose

Pastor Doug Williams
Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Christian Centre

Bishop Paul Reid
Pastor of Grace Tabernace Christian Ministries (PAW)

Reverend Eve Pitts
Reverend of Holy Trinity Church Birchfield

Pastor Andrew Adeleke
Assistant Continental Overseer (Europe) and Regional Pastor for RCCG Region 2, Wales and South East England

Bishop Claion Grandison
District Bishop at NTCG, West Croydon

Pastor David Musa
The Excel Church, South Croydon

Pastor Tim Olapido
Kings for Christ Ministries, Woolwich

Bishop Michael Hutton Wood
House of Judah, Croydon

Bishop David Onimisi
Salem International Christian Centre, Harlow, Essex

Bishop Daniel Adewale King
Divine Connection International Church (DCIC), London

Pastor Lola Oyebade
House on the Rock International, Tower Bridge, London

Pastor Janet Adisa
Good News Ministry, Dartford, Kent

Pastor Lola Owolabi
Everlasting Arms Ministry, Old Kent Road, London

Bishop Wale Olulana
Harmony Christian Centre, Dagenham, Kent

Pastor Muyiwa Obasa
Sr Pastor Goshen Light Church

Pastor Lawrence Aderiye
Sr Pastor Treasure House Church

Pastor Kingsley Amaechi
Pastor (RCCG) Faith & Holiness

The Very Reverend Rogers Govender
Dean of Manchester

Pastor Dr Joseph Omofuma
Grace Community Church

Rev Charles Kwaku-Odoi
Command Prayer Centre Ministries Int.

Pastor Lynns Tokee-Opitoke
Christ United Ministries Int’l , Manchester

Pastor Daniel Boamah
Light of the World Global Ministries, Manchester

Pastor Emmanuel Ajoku
World Harvest Christian Church, Manchester

Apostle Alfred Williams
Christfaith Cathedral International Churches, London

Bishop Paul Fadeyi
Grace Outreach, Dartford