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.”

SHARE

Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.