Pastor Jamal Bryant’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church facilitated free coronavirus testing for nearly 2,000 people in Atlanta, Georgia, at a Mother’s Day event Sunday as churches increasingly become a lifeline for access to testing in minority communities.
“Almost 2,000 people were tested, making it the largest for Georgia,” Bryant said in a statement shared with The Christian Post on Thursday. “[COVID-19] has impacted, disproportionately, the African American community, so I was grateful that New Birth was able to participate in such a partnership.”
The testing event was a partnership between RoweDocs and MAJL Laboratories.
Bryant’s announcement comes as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a partnership last weekend with the state’s largest healthcare provider, Northwell Health, to establish 24 temporary coronavirus testing sites at churches in predominantly minority communities as preliminary data both locally in New York City and nationwide shows black and Latino people dying at about twice the rate of whites and Asians.
At the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, which is home to one of the 24 temporary testing sites, the church’s leader, the Rev. Calvin Butts, took the first test as an example to the community.
“Oh my goodness,” Butts said after the test was administered, CBS New York reported.
“We’re hoping that this encourages other people in our community,” he said. “Why? Because the black and brown community is the epicenter of the epicenter.”
Northwell Health is expected to provide about 300 coronavirus and antibody tests at the church until Sunday for area residents, but Butts believes many more will be needed.
Reports of the deaths of dozens of pastors and members of predominantly black churches have not been uncommon during the pandemic. Last month, the Rev. Johnnie Green of Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, who himself recovered from the coronavirus, told CP that at his church alone 13 members had died in 30 days and all but two of them died due to complications from the virus.
And Louis Johnson Jr., who owns Harlem Haberdashery, says the coronavirus continues to hit many in the community hard.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair