Lonely Goodbye: Detroit pastors, funeral home director share stories of loss from COVID-19, urge vaccinations

lonely goodbye
Posted at 9:44 AM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 10:05:54-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit pastors and a funeral home director share stories of loss from COVID-19 in new television spots urging vaccinations to prevent what they are calling 'lonely goodbyes.'

The spots are part of the state's "My Why" series which features Michiganders and their reasons for getting vaccinated.

COVID-19 has hit Detroit especially hard. Pastors speak out about losing dozens of church members to COVID-19, many of whom could not be with loved ones in the hour of their passing.

“I’ve had people in my church die in the hospital without their loved ones, in isolation, by themselves,” said Rev. Horace Sheffield III, pastor at New Destiny Christian Fellowship.

“The power to change this narrative is your choice,” said Rev. Sheffield. “My hope is that people will get vaccinated.”


Funeral directors speak on limited capacity funerals and how that affects families.

“It was devastating — we had to limit it to five to 10 people in the beginning,” said Joseph Hutchison, owner of Hutchison Funeral Home. “I’ve had families come back still not being able to believe that their loved one has passed away.”

Pastors say they understand why there is hesitancy but urges people to follow the science.

“I also was hesitant,” said Dr. John E. Duckworth from Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church. “Then I began to do the research behind the vaccine.”

The spots will air statewide on broadcast television, cable, connected TV, Hulu, YouTube, gas station TV, and social media.

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit

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