Closing Churches…

I just want to say that the closure of churches during the pandemic has worn very thin.

I drafted a letter to the power(s) that be in my part of the world and was answered immediately with these few words,

“Churches are re-opening this weekend.”

Which they ended up not doing because we were hit by an arctic storm that locked us down worse than Covid for a week…and gave us something else to talk about!

Of course the re-opening of churches had nothing to do with my letter; I don’t imagine I have that much influence.  All I wanted to do was draw attention to how the common-man in the pew was feeling… just in case they didn’t know…

At the start of 2021 there seemed little hope that Lent, Holy Week and Easter services were going to be held at church in-person.  While this was a new challenge last year, filled with the novelty and flexibility of on-line services, the thoughts of going through it again after almost 12 months of clinging to our make-shift worship patterns was beginning to grow old.  I for one am growing weary of the Institution called Church.

And as a Boomer… institutions just don’t sit well on my shoulders.

For the few months last year that churches were allowed to conduct in-person worship, augmented by streaming and outdoors, Hubs and I attended – masked appropriately and distanced socially – several area churches.

We went to services requiring pre-registration and services not requiring pre-registration and found that the turnout was about the same.

This told us that folks who were not yet ready to worship face-to-face stayed – responsibly though reluctantly – home.


We knew that just because church was open didn’t mean the threat of the virus was over.

We knew that congregations would self-filter.

We suspected it would be perfectly safe as long as we stood apart and refrained from hand shaking, hugging or lingering.

Oh how we yearned to linger and catch-up…

how we yearned to tap a shoulder reassuringly…

how we yearned to hug a friend tightly…

how we yearned to fill the space between us.

Then the churches closed again just weeks before Christmas causing a frenzy of despair, a falling away, a seeking of alternative solace that may or may not be a place of worship.


On looking around at other establishments, such as grocery stores, wineries, breweries, schools, restaurants, malls, hair dressing salons and more I ask,

Why would a winery be allowed to welcome customers with open arms and not my own church?

Why would a restaurant seat me in a reasonably spaced table configuration and send various staff to deliver water, appetisers and food and not my church where the clergy remain apart at the altar and communion is picked up at the door and self-administered in the pew?

If I can choose to participate in those activities that involve contact with others, banks, doctor’s offices, schools, then why not church?

Does it have something to do with tax revenue that places of worship are advised to stay closed?

Is there more income from liquor sales, food and other commodities than from non-profit, tax-exempt religious organisation?

Sadly I think the answer is yes and sadly, I wonder why some of our churches have acquiesced instead of being counter-cultural as they are called to be?


Protecting their clergy and congregants is a reason…but from what we’ve observed first hand, congregations tend to look after themselves.

My husband and I have found choices and will continue to attend any church that offers a socially distanced, masked, in-person, no registration, service, be it Roman Catholic, Non-Denominational or Anglican.

There is absolutely no substitute for a community of believers lifting their voices in praise and worship, praying for their communities and the world, reaching out to non-believers intentionally while still maintaining Covid restrictions.

In such a time as this our places of worship are essential, I feel their closure is counter-intuitive causing unnecessary anger and disillusionment.

On-line streaming is good as a choice, but not as the only choice. There are still many who no longer worship weekly, who’ve lost the habit, filled the sacred Sunday hour with something else.

How easy will it be to bring them all back?

I believe the repercussions of closed churches are going to be far reaching and crippling as we all come to our own terms with this New World.


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