Why I’m Wearing a Mask to Church Next Sunday

"I will relinquish my 'rights' in order to serve others. Theologians have labeled Philippians 2:5-8 as 'the great kenosis' passage. It is a Greek word that describes the self-emptying of Jesus in order to live among us on His way to the cross. 'Have this mind among yourselves...'" - Church Leaders

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TylerR's picture

Editor

Only three people, each elderly, wear masks at our church. There used to be more. We've been open for three weeks, now. I wore one the first week open. I stopped after that.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

DLCreed's picture

11. Virtue signaling

(He even had to write an entire article on his reasons, less anyone miss it.)

AndyE's picture

We are in Georgia and have been following Gov Kemp's guidelines.  For the past month, we've had limited Sunday morning services, opening every other pew, sitting together as families, and social distancing in the auditorium.  We were asked to wear masks into the building until we get to our seats, then we can take the masks off.  It is really weird fellowshipping with masks on -- you sort of have to break the 6 ft barrier to hear the other person.  Our church has people who think masks are essential and those who think they are an infringement on our rights.  What we have been doing has worked out fine so far.

 

 

Mark_Smith's picture

Here is my reason. You all don't know this, but my daughter was born with a health issue and has a tracheostomy. She is healthy and I want to do all I can to keep it that way. Most of my family members and church members don't get it. She has a hole that goes directly to her lungs! They don't acknowledge it at all (not out of faith or care, but out of obliviousness). Instead, we get grief for not "trusting God." Meanwhile, they gather together in large groups, then they want to come to our house for the kids to play, etc. Also, as I've said before, members of my small group travel to NYC regularly and also sit in bars to eat (don't even ask). Nope. Not attending until things are reasonably safe which I define as the safety level of how things were before corona.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

We've had 3 Sunday services indoors now, and 2 Wednesday services.  Before that, we were meeting for 3 weeks outside.  The first week indoors, some of the older folks wore masks.  No one else did.  We neither encourage it nor discourage it, but have asked everyone on both sides to not be judgmental towards others. Since then, there has been no mask use inside.  Our changes have been much like others mentioned here and elsewhere.  We don't shake hands or pass the offering plate, we have every other pew blocked off, and family units sit together.  And for fellowship after the service, we ask everyone to move outside so they can separate enough, as we don't have a large sanctuary or front hall area.  So far it's been working well.

We do have a few who have not returned and are just watching the remote services.  These are either older or in the categories that might have more risk than others.

We have not yet had anyone ask others to wear a mask in their presence, or show any discomfort at being around those not wearing them, so we've seen no need to require masks out of "love for others."

Dave Barnhart

josh p's picture

We are on “phase 2” in our county but we have applied for phase 3. Our church has not yet returned to meeting since our we cannot meet the guidelines without jumping through many, many hoops. We are starting back soon but will have to have two services. Everyone down to two years old must wear masks the entire service. We are going to have to have one way traffic to the bathroom in order to maintain social distancing which means that people will have to walk behind the pulpit. It’s going to be interesting!

dgszweda's picture

Our church is practicing absolutely nothing.  No social distancing and no guidelines.  We feel that most people feel this issue is over hyped and that it is an infringement of their rights.  We have high risk family members.  And while we are not being extreme (we are still going out), we are struggling with sitting in a tightly crammed space with 150 people for 2 hours and spraying droplets while singing.  It is the exact recipe that everyone is saying to avoid and that this particular scenario is the highest risk scenario.  I am at a lost of words.

Bert Perry's picture

My take here is that with ~300 or so new cases in Minnesota daily, we've got ~5k or so active diagnosed cases in the state, possibly representing about ten times that many active cases, many "low symptomatic" or asymptomatic.  Say 50k cases among 100x that number of people, or 50k cases among 2 million families.  If we assume that families don't socially distance well, we might estimate about 1% of family groups have it.

So if we get ~50 families attending in a weekend, we've got pretty good odds of someone with the disease at church, and hence I don't mind some of the precautions we're taking--masks, one way traffic, encouraging people to not use bathrooms, etc..--to reduce the odds of spreading it.  Put gently, I don't want to be interviewed by the local TV news about "why we decided to hold services and didn't take precautions to avoid spreading the disease when we knew it was bouncing around."

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

JohnBrian's picture

We have been meeting for a number of weeks, while our elderly and sickly watch online. Every other pew is taped on one side, so that no one is sitting directly in front of another.

Hard to sing with masks!

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pvawter's picture

We have been holding in person services since early May. We started with our midweek Bible study limiting attendance to comply with our governor's order. When his order was overturned by the state Supreme Court we began holding Sunday services as well. Mask use has been very limited and at this point only a couple of people are wearing them. We're not in denial about the virus, neither are we judging those who still have not returned to services. Everyone really has to make up their own mind and just lay off the guilt-tripping of everyone who sees it differently. Take responsibility for yourself and your family. 

Joel Shaffer's picture

DL Creed, How do I know that you are not virtue signaling about someone who is virtue signaling? I could easily jump to conclusions (without any proof) that your motive is to score points and get "likes" here on Sharper Iron when you insinuated that the author virtue signaled, "had to write an entire article on his reasons, less anyone miss it."     

Mark_Smith's picture

JohnBrian wrote:

We have been meeting for a number of weeks, while our elderly and sickly watch online. Every other pew is taped on one side, so that no one is sitting directly in front of another.

Hard to sing with masks!

JohnBrian, I know you meant well, but I object to the phrase "sickly." This is what my church says. My daughter is not sickly. She simply has another access hole to her respiratory system to help if she ever needs it. She never has needed it, but it is there if she does. This makes her more susceptible to viruses because her body's natural defense of the nose and moist upper airway has a bypass. Once again, there are people who need to be watchful other than elderly and sickly.

 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Mark_Smith wrote:

JohnBrian, I know you meant well, but I object to the phrase "sickly." This is what my church says. My daughter is not sickly. She simply has another access hole to her respiratory system to help if she ever needs it. She never has needed it, but it is there if she does. This makes her more susceptible to viruses because her body's natural defense of the nose and moist upper airway has a bypass. Once again, there are people who need to be watchful other than elderly and sickly.

Mark, maybe he should just have added a category.  We do have those in our number with chronic diseases like COPD, and I would definitely categorize them as sickly.  Your daughter is in a different category (maybe just call it "those at higher risk").  Now, maybe "sickly" is getting out of fashion and is too non-PC these days, but it is still a valid category on its own, different from those who are generally healthy, but have some physical characteristic that puts them at more risk.

Dave Barnhart

DLCreed's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

DL Creed, How do I know that you are not virtue signaling about someone who is virtue signaling? I could easily jump to conclusions (without any proof) that your motive is to score points and get "likes" here on Sharper Iron when you insinuated that the author virtue signaled, "had to write an entire article on his reasons, less anyone miss it."     

I could be.  Or I could be being sarcastic.  Or I could be being snarky.  Or I could honestly believe this.  Or I could just be being ornery.  That's the thing about social media and public posting of opinions....one really doesn't know, but we can always speculate.  It's the great "Wild West" of bloviating.  (And all of this was all of that.)

G. N. Barkman's picture

Because as of today (June 24), Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina has issued a mandate requiring them whenever one is out in public.  I have expected this for several days, but now its official.  On Monday, I asked our Office Manager to order a supply of masks, which she has, and they are expected to arrive on Friday.  So, like it or not, we're all going to be wearing masks this Sunday.  I'm curious to see how this is going to work, but we will give it our best effort.

G. N. Barkman

DLCreed's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

Because as of today (June 24), Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina has issued a mandate requiring them whenever one is out in public.  I have expected this for several days, but now its official.  On Monday, I asked our Office Manager to order a supply of masks, which she has, and they are expected to arrive on Friday.  So, like it or not, we're all going to be wearing masks this Sunday.  I'm curious to see how this is going to work, but we will give it our best effort.

It is our understanding that Cooper's order does not effect churches.  There is also a specific exemption for those who are engaged in public speaking.  We do not intend to change our current practices on masks at this time unless we get some clearer legal directive.  

G. N. Barkman's picture

Where can we get clear and reliable legal directive?

G. N. Barkman

DLCreed's picture

G. N. Barkman wrote:

Where can we get clear and reliable legal directive?

I'm just working off the actual Governor's Executive Order.  (It's online.)  I will tell you, however, since I posted yesterday, I've got significant disagreement on my Elder Board and the debate rages on.  There are three of our eight who feel very strongly about mandating masks -- though, interestingly, none of the three have returned to our "live" services to this point and I doubt they would even with masks.  In 35 years of ministry, this has been the most challenging 4 months of trying to maintain unity in ministry I've ever experienced.  It literally changes hour by hour many days.