As soothing tones resonated from the organ above, sunlight streamed in massive windows and people trickled into the cathedral nave.
One coronavirus vaccine clinic in Seattle has ambience you won’t find at your local drugstore. Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, has been the site of more than a thousand shots in arms so far.
“It’s been amazing, because people have been incredibly emotional,” said Dr. Sikirat Tinubu-Karch, of 6M Geriatrics and Hospital Medicine, the sponsor of the clinic. She said she’s seen people burst out crying because of the music, and people who oppose the vaccine carrying on spirited conversations, though none have left without a shot.
“To me, it’s a result of that uncertainty and anxiety throughout this entire period,” she said.
Music floated out of the 1965 Flentrop organ, played by associate organist John Stuntebeck, out of sight to those below. He brought a wide selection to play, including some Mozart church sonatas. “They are so fun and light, and people really like them,“ he said. Many of the same songs he has earmarked to play at weddings when the bride is running late.
The Rev. Steve Thomason, dean and rector of Saint Mark’s, said that the vaccine clinic carries on the church’s founding vision of being a gathering space for all, regardless of faith. “This cathedral was envisioned a century ago to be a communitywide resource for the region,” he said. “And it has served that way for nearly 100 years now.”
In recent memory, the church has hosted tent cities 14 times since the year 2000, and more than 200 nonprofits have used the cathedral campus for meetings and performances.
“Vaccinations are about serving the common good. And that’s the church’s mission too,” he said.
Anyone 16 and older is who lives and works in Washington State is eligible for a coronavirus vaccine here. As of this date, the clinic was offering Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. To learn more and sign up for an upcoming appointment, visit the Saint Marks’ website or the vaccine finder at covidwa.com.