Going to church together, or not

Live! In person!

First Presbyterian Church. windowMy wife and I have usually gone to church together over the past 22+ years. But often, we didn’t sit together, as I was usually perched in the choir loft while she was sitting in the congregation. The exception was during the summer when the choir was usually off. She really liked it, but it felt somewhat foreign to me.

Then there was the pandemic. When our service returned on Facebook beginning March 22, 2020, it was us sitting together watching a screen together. And we’d do communion together, either something my wife baked that weekend or a cracker to eat, homemade grape juice, or Nine Pin Cider to drink.

But we would be on separate computers for the adult education class. We had different ZOOM styles in terms of when to be on mute. For me, it was almost always, when I wasn’t speaking. Also, I found that couples on the same ZOOM screen are harder to hear/understand and especially more difficult to see.

On June 20, 2021, we began the in-person church, and we both went through the summer live, except once when we were away.

Risk assessment

So it’s curious that now we’re doing church differently again. We both go to adult ed online. But then I go to church in person, while my wife has decided to go back online. She’s teaching kids, most too young to be fully vaccinated yet, whereas I really don’t see that many people.

I was having a discussion about COVID and risk with a friend. It reminded me of a comment to a recent Weekly Sift article. “When there’s a threat with no end in sight…, we need to also measure risk against the reward… Eating in a restaurant is risky, so I won’t eat inside just any restaurant, but I will eat inside my favorite restaurant. Not because the risk is lower, but because the reward is high (in my case). For other people, it might be that you’ll spend time in a small room for a long time with vaccinated family but not with vaccinated strangers.”

My choir met at church on October 14 for the first time in 19 months, and we sang! All full vaccinated, masked, and distanced – it was difficult to hear the tenors – but we sang. And we didn’t suck! It wasn’t for the service, yet, but maybe we’ll record something in the next month or two to be used.

Rule of thumb: when there is both a remote and face-to-face option, I’ll almost always opt fr the latter. But I never mock other people’s more cautious approach.