COVID 19 and A Preacher’s Love Letters
by Reverend Dr. Serenus T. Churn, Sr.

"One of the unexpected benefits of the tragic Covid 19 has been its power to underscore the myriad of blessing we take for granted."

Reverend Churn began composing "love letters" to his church congregants in March 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions prevented worship gatherings. He highlights scripture and other sources, exhorting readers to appreciate their many blessings. The pandemic evoked fears of disease and death, unemployment, murders of African Americans, marching, looting, and even an attack on America's capital. Churn cites these and more while offering praise for the bounty God has bestowed. The letter of June fifteenth, or Juneteenth, commemorates the hopeful message embedded in the emancipation of slaves. He continually recalls Jesus' wish to help us conquer our fears. He notes the new vaccines announced in November 2020, giving church members reason to celebrate Thanksgiving more joyfully. During Black History month, he commends the advice of Rev. Jesse Jackson: "Keep hope alive." The book concludes with Easter missives honoring the resurrection and eternal guidance of Christ.

Churn has a remarkable personal history in his chosen profession. He was licensed to preach at age fifteen. He has numerous advanced degrees and has ministered in Europe, Africa, India, and the Caribbean. His letters open with quotations from the Holy Bible, the content frequently citing lines from storied hymns. In the absence of group interaction, the letters provide Churn an opportunity to sermonize briefly, presenting biblical stories of the suffering and triumphs of Jesus and his disciples as a way of considering the plight that his African American congregants are facing. He generally closes with the reminder that he and his wife Shirley are praying for the congregation and the wish that the recipients will pray for them and the church. As virus restrictions ease, Churn's book strives to keep the essence of hope flowing for those who see the COVID-19 complex as a metaphor for keeping faith and finding guidance in times of tribulation.

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