The Rev. L.C. Ray reflects on COVID-19

REUNITED: In October, the Rev. L.C. Ray welcomed congregants back inside the WNC Baptist Fellowship Church in downtown Asheville. The 81-year-old pastor says safety guidelines are in place. The photo, taken this spring, shows Ray delivering a virtual sermon. Photo by Thomas Calder

In April, when Xpress first spoke with the Rev. L.C. Ray, the 81-year-old pastor was still working out the kinks for his virtual Sunday sermons.

Today, the WNC Baptist Fellowship Church leader has reunited with his congregation for in-person services. Seating is limited to 50 people; meanwhile, masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are provided to all who attend. As in April, sermons are also available through Facebook Live.

Though Ray prides himself on his faith and optimism, he says the country’s divided response to the pandemic has challenged his sense of hope over the last nine months. “We’re not on the same page,” he laments. “So many people of faith are denouncing the safety recommendations. You hear it on the television and on the radio. That’s not good.”

However, the pastor still believes the future can be bright. “We’re all going through so much,” he says. “And not only in America, but across the world. But I feel that 2021 — if we’re faithful — will be a better year.”


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, comes out on March 23, 2021.

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