Church in Harlem NY loses 11 members to coronavirus in 30 days

Church in Harlem NY loses 11 members to coronavirus in 30 days

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 | Tag Cloud
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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A church in Harlem has lost 11 members to the coronavirus pandemic in 30 days. Rev. Johnnie Green of the 1200-member Mount Neboh Baptist Church told the Christian Post: “It is simply unfathomable and unfortunate that so many people in our congregation [have died].”

Speaking to the Christian Post, Green said he believes the reason for such a high number of fatalities is that many of the church’s members are essential workers: “A lot of our people work in schools systems, they work in transit, they work in the hospitals, they work in law enforcement, and so many of them from different walks of life were exposed.”

Pastor Green explained that congregants were coming to church when it was known the virus existed but before the church could prepare for it and before the lockdown was ordered. “And if you bring 600 or 700 people in the church at one time and five people are infected with the virus, it’s going to spread like wildfire and that’s what happened,” he said. The last in-person service at the church was on March 15, before the state was locked down on March 20.

In addition to losing 11 congregants to COVID-19, the church lost two other members to unrelated causes during the same 30 day period. Discussing the personal impact of the crisis, the pastor said: “It hit so severely and so suddenly, it was sort of like being blindsided. It’s something that you don’t expect. You read in the Bible, you read the stories of people like Job and how he lost 10 of his children at one time and the impact that it had on Job’s life. Well, I didn’t lose 10 children but I’ve lost 13 parishioners and the impact has been devastating.”

Concerning the way forward, Green said the answer was for the church to continue in faith. He said: “I believe God has allowed this to happen in our church for our church to demonstrate before the world what real faith in God looks like … Now we are learning that God can get us through the crisis.”

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