Richard Gaines knew the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. To prove it, he put some skin in the game – his own.
Gaines, senior pastor of Consolidated Baptist Church, received his second shot for the vaccine Feb. 10 at the church, two days before the official launch of the “Lex Do This!” campaign to educate and encourage citizens to follow suit.
“People have asked, ‘How does the second dose feel?’ The arm is a little sore, a little more than the first shot … but I haven’t felt woozy or more tired,” Gaines said Feb. 10, prior to his weekly online Bible study. “We’re thanking God that things have gone well thus far.
“Today we had hundreds of people come through Consolidated to receive second vaccines and a few first vaccines. We’re grateful for the health department and their work at the church. We give God the honor and glory and praise. To see people come out with tears in their eyes saying ‘Thank you for doing this,’ it is glorious to see.”
Several local ministers also took the vaccine as part of the “Lex Do This!” campaign. At its official launch, Gaines was optimistic about more people being vaccinated.
“In the midst of this pandemic, we finally are seeing a glimmer of hope,” he said. “Almost a year in with over 450,000 lives lost, many of which have been in the African American community, there is reason for hope. Though we have a ways to go in this fight, Consolidated Baptist Church has gladly sought to be welcoming and to do everything within our power to aid in this struggle.”
At 63 years old, Gaines fell into Kentucky’s Phase 1C of receiving the vaccine. Recently, however, his status as a pastor would also suffice as the state added clergy to its list of essential workers. Gaines has served as pastor of Consolidated since 1996 and was on the 2013 SBC Committee on Resolutions.
Gaines’s son Micah, the church’s worship pastor, said that although members of Consolidated have contracted COVID-19, all have recovered. He and others will fill the pulpit over the next several weeks as his father recovers from a Feb. 15 surgical procedure.
Consolidated Baptist will be a vaccination site for the foreseeable future, Micah Gaines said. The church will continue to meet digitally, as it has since the beginning of the pandemic.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Scott Barkley is national correspondent for Baptist Press.)