OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Two Oklahoma City pastors joined the ‘Faith in Vaccines’ chat Thursday night with a medical professional to discuss how their faith has related to the pandemic and COVID-19 vaccines.
The chat comes as the number of fully-vaccinated Oklahomans increased by more than 105,000 over the last month.
“Who we are as people of faith is not in opposition to who we are as people who believe in medical science,” said the Rev. Aaron Bolerjack, the executive pastor for the OKC First Church of the Nazarene.
“We just as community leaders, spiritual leaders want to make sure that the community knows there is hope,” said the Rev. Heriberto Espino, executive pastor and multicultural minister at the Fellowship of Western Oaks, better known as “Pastor Eddie.”
It’s a pretty general consensus from the two pastors.
“Vaccination is in fact a way to love our neighbor and not just about who we are as individuals,” Bolerjack said.
“At the end of the day it’s caring for your neighbor,” Espino said.
As of Thursday, the state has seen over 4.1 million doses administered. More than 1.8 million Oklahomans have finished the full series. That’s just less than half the population.
“I think more conversation is a good thing,” Bolerjack said. “And more scientifically-informed conversation is a good thing.”
Thursday night, that’s just what happened among the two pastors and physician Audrey Corbett with OU Health Physicians-Tulsa.
“Our goal is to prevent severe COVID,” Corbett said.
Corbett said the vaccines numbers prove its efficacy. Both Espino and Bolerjack, though, gave an insight into another area outside of science.
“If there’s any questions, just reach out to somebody,” Corbett said.
“I believe that things like the vaccine and masks are all ways that God is at work helping us to protect the vulnerable,” Bolerjack said.
“The Lord also uses medicine, and He uses the resources for our benefit, so, sometimes our faith also is based in that,” Espino said.
Pastor Eddie did make it clear that this was not a chance for them to tell their congregation or others what to do. Rather, he said it was to give their account of how their faith matches up with the pandemic and the vaccines with insight from a medical professional.