Quarantine Worship

Not that I’m worshiping quarantine. Rather, today’s post is about how people are continuing to worship in this time of social distancing. When this all began (six weeks ago? More or less), shifting over to social distancing from a religious perspective really wasn’t that difficult. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had made a switch in January 2019 that emphasized a learning curriculum that was to be done in the home as families. Up until that point, our church services each Sunday had run three hours. With that change, an hour was lopped off from that to counterbalance the new home-learning.

So when suddenly the church stopped all weekly gatherings completely, world-wide, it really wasn’t that shocking of a step. All the members already had a year’s worth of practice worshiping at home. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not the same as meeting with a congregation, but I’m just saying it wasn’t like religion screeched to a halt. My family continued to meet each Sunday, and life went on.

Of course, that was six weeks ago now. That’s a whole lot of Sundays to go with just home services, which is why I’ve been grateful that our local congregations have mostly shifted over to Zoom services now. For the past month or so, we all turn on our computers (or phone in) and have a couple of talks and some hymns, starting at 9:30 each Sunday morning. Yesterday we had around 100 people in attendance, I’d guesstimate. (There were around 50 people logged in to the meeting, but many of those were households like mine of 5 or more.)

Interestingly (for a church that generally does things fairly uniformly), I’ve been surprised to hear this isn’t a practice that’s being done by all Latter-day Saint congregations. Or even most of them, from my anecdotal evidence. I’ve talked to people across the country, and for many of them, church has stopped for all intents and purposes, other than the home-studying component. I had thought Maine was already fairly behind the times, technologically speaking. (Usually that’s definitely the case. Our internet speeds are muuuuuch slower up here, and many people are still using technology that’s ten or more years behind the rest of the nation.) So to have Maine congregations doing things that places with a better technological infrastructure aren’t . . . is strange.

But I’ve only spoken to a few people, and I wanted to spread the net a bit wider. So how about you. Whether or not you’re a Latter-day Saint, if you typically go to church services each Sunday, what have you been doing now? How are you continuing to worship in times of social distancing? I see some places suing governments, demanding their right to worship in person again. I for one have been grateful for ways to both practice my religion but do it in a safe manner. Are other denominations doing the same?

Inquiring minds want to know . . .

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