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carlimac

Who has gone back to church at the building?

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What was the experience like? 

We went back for the first time today and it was surreal, depressing and I didn't feel anything because of the distraction of it being so different. Our ward is so divided up (Northeast Area directives) that we only had 18 people there for our session ( granted a couple families were missing). I sat there the whole time wondering what church really is for me. I definitely have felt the spirit more at our home meetings than I did today. I should have felt the spirit at the building today. Everything went ok. But the few families that were there aren't the ones I'm closest to and it made me wonder if the feeling of the spirit has more to do with the emotional warmth of being with people we have a bond with than the "mechanics and structure" how the meeting is carried out. 

 

  

Edited by carlimac

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1 hour ago, carlimac said:

What was the experience like? 

We went back for the first time today and it was surreal, depressing and I didn't feel anything because of the distraction of it being so different. Our ward is so divided up (Northeast Area directives) that we only had 18 people there for our session ( granted a couple families were missing). I sat there the whole time wondering what church really is for me. I definitely have felt the spirit more at our home meetings than I did today. I should have felt the spirit at the building today. Everything went ok. But the few families that were there aren't the ones I'm closest to and it made me wonder if the feeling of the spirit has more to do with the emotional warmth of being with people we have a bond with than the "mechanics and structure" how the meeting is carried out.   

We've been back at church for a few months now.  It was fine.  But I was unable to make it for a while.  I've only gone to three meetings, I think.

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We've had a decent showing the few weeks we've been back. But it is a little weird because so much of our church experience is social and with that aspect being limited it does not feel like the full experience where as being at home I don't expect it. So I think it just comes down to expectations. Just appreciate it for what it is.

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I was back at Church yesterday for the first time since, I guess, March. We had a baptism for several children of a large family, children of record but two of the three old enough to be considered convert baptisms. Everyone masked up (except for the younger children). Interesting experience. We limited our activity to the area of the Church building with the font, which in our case is the Relief Society room.

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3 hours ago, carlimac said:

What was the experience like? 

We went back for the first time today and it was surreal, depressing and I didn't feel anything because of the distraction of it being so different. Our ward is so divided up (Northeast Area directives) that we only had 18 people there for our session ( granted a couple families were missing). I sat there the whole time wondering what church really is for me. I definitely have felt the spirit more at our home meetings than I did today. I should have felt the spirit at the building today. Everything went ok. But the few families that were there aren't the ones I'm closest to and it made me wonder if the feeling of the spirit has more to do with the emotional warmth of being with people we have a bond with than the "mechanics and structure" how the meeting is carried out.   

Following a suggestion from @anatess2, my family actually joined up with up with another family for mini church ~3 months ago.  That worked out great for everyone involved: good lessons, fellowship, and at least some formality.  They and we both have some high risk people and a similar level of precaution about things.  

Hence I have not been to at-chapel church since the world went crazy.  My ward did start meeting together in-person 2-3 months ago... and it's just a "no go" for us on so many levels.   Recently, the bishop actually tried to force everyone to come back via revoking permission to have at home-church and lots of guilt trips, including for families whom are high risk.  Needless to say that didn't go over well.  However, after a saga he did step down and once again grant permission for us to say home.  

That's my story as of today.  I am much more attached to the spirt of things rather than traditional mechanics (especially when traditional mechanics aren't the mechanics actually being used).

 

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Our ward has held three meetings since June, and each has had more and more people return. Our first however only had 13 present...16 if you count the 3 of us on the stand. It was one of the most spiritual sacrament meetings I can remember. Lots of hustle and bustle take place with cleaning the building and regarding masks and whatnot, but the purpose of the meeting is the sacrament, and it has been worth it.

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I've attended in-person every Sunday but one (Labor Day, when I was out of town) for a couple of months.  I forget, when, exactly, we were allowed to go back, but I was overwhelmed with the Spirit the first two weeks.  Probably because my in-home services were awful.  My roommate relocated to her parents' home for a couple of months, leaving me essentially alone, and my worship was basically putting chairs on my patio so a ministering brother could come over and spent 15 minutes chatting and praying with me. Except for April, when there was no approval to administer sacrament to members outside of your own home.  This week, we opened the overflow, but that's because people were taking the 6 foot guideline seriously.  The side pews are small enough that one person can sit against the wall and another in the aisle and still be following it.  Also, there was a full row taken up by a single sister on one side and a childless couple on the other.  Why people don't leave large rows for large families baffles me, even in the Before Times.

As a person, I'm pretty adaptable in a general sense, so the microphone sanitizing and new administration procedures didn't feel like an interruption for me.  The masks I'm used to.  I'm a receptionist for an eye doctor, and I've been masking at work since early April.  Our ward has also adapted pretty well to the alterations in administering.  The bread is broken and placed into individual cups, spaced every other slot, while the sacrament hymn is played.  One Fast and Testimony meeting, I sat just behind the Aaronic Priesthood holders, so I had a pretty good view of them preparing it, and it reminded me of how the Atonement is a very individual thing.  I shared Chieko Okazaki's quote, "Did you know that if you were the only person in the world who needed the Atonement, He still would have died for you -- just for you?"
The young men walk around with a full tray in one hand and an empty tray in the other, standing in the pew in front of you so you can drop the empty cup in the empty tray.  A few weeks ago, it was quiet enough that I heard the blessers (our ward has no priests) empty the empties into the trash.  The sound of the plastic cups tapping against each other as they fell felt symbolic of our community of individuals ridding ourselves of our sins and shortcomings by turning them over to the Lord, who promptly discards them.
Those administering the sacrament wait until the congregation has received both bread and water before the blessers hold the trays for the passers, and then each other.  It serves as a reminder to me that JOY is an acronym for: Jesus, Others, Self.  We find joy when our focus is in that order.

While I'm glad to be back, the only reason I'm attending in person as often as I am is to receive the sacrament and wave at my Sunbeams, sometimes able to talk to them outside after church.  Our ward also has set up closed circuit broadcasting of the non-ordinance portions of the meeting.

Edited by seashmore

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I've been in the church building exactly twice since March.  The first time was to help set up for a baptism back in June. The second was to do some administrative stuff yesterday afternoon.  

I've not attended any services. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I will anytime in the near future. My social network consists of the following conditions

  • A niece with  no immune response (literally, when parents dropped off their kids in Primary with the sniffles, it wasn't uncommon for her to develop pneumonia within a week)
  • A father with a hospital acquired, medication resistant infection (going to the hospital is a risky ordeal for him without the complications of a respiratory disease)
  • Several Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA participants whose primary adults are their grandparents.

We're trying to stay available to be the social outlet for my niece, because her social sphere is so restricted now, which means we have to be pretty careful about where we go and in what ways we interact with people. One of the choices we've made is that we will only participate in activities where masking is required and we can have a reasonable belief that attendees will adhere to best practices. 

Unfortunately, we have a handful of families that are avid anti-masker, don't-tread-on-my-freedoms type people. Despite the bishopric's best attempts to persuade them that masking up and keeping a little distance would be enough to help a non-insignificant number of people be able to attend, they just refuse. So we won't be going back, because I just can't trust that other members in my ward will have any concern for the health concerns of my family and scouts I am committed to serving. We'll go back when one of these three conditions is met

  • The bishopric enforces masking expectations
  • The CDC declares that preventative measures are no longer necessary
  • The WHO declares the pandemic is over.

I suspect that the both wards will be meeting in the building weekly long before any of those conditions are met. If I'm honest, I'm struggling with resentment. It's a new feeling for me.  Not sure I like it.

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I’ve been going regularly for a couple months now. It’s been alright. Only a 4th of the ward meets together at the same time. I’m not particularly close to anyone, but it was really nice being back in such a sacred building once again. I definitely felt t or spirit of it when I first went back

Edited by Fether

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2 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

I've not attended any services. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I will anytime in the near future. My social network consists of the following conditions

...

I suspect that the both wards will be meeting in the building weekly long before any of those conditions are met. If I'm honest, I'm struggling with resentment. It's a new feeling for me.  Not sure I like it.

I had almost the converse reason for not attending.  Not quite a mirror image opposite, but "converse" is about right.

After reading your post, I've realized how unreasonable I've been for avoiding church attendance for my very real reasons.  I hope you may find your reasons are as real as mine, and at the same time your choice to not attend is just as unreasonable as mine has been.

I'm going to repent and go back to church.  I hope you do as well.

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3 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

I've been in the church building exactly twice since March.  The first time was to help set up for a baptism back in June. The second was to do some administrative stuff yesterday afternoon.  

I've not attended any services. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I will anytime in the near future. My social network consists of the following conditions

  • A niece with  no immune response (literally, when parents dropped off their kids in Primary with the sniffles, it wasn't uncommon for her to develop pneumonia within a week)
  • A father with a hospital acquired, medication resistant infection (going to the hospital is a risky ordeal for him without the complications of a respiratory disease)
  • Several Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA participants whose primary adults are their grandparents.

We're trying to stay available to be the social outlet for my niece, because her social sphere is so restricted now, which means we have to be pretty careful about where we go and in what ways we interact with people. One of the choices we've made is that we will only participate in activities where masking is required and we can have a reasonable belief that attendees will adhere to best practices. 

Unfortunately, we have a handful of families that are avid anti-masker, don't-tread-on-my-freedoms type people. Despite the bishopric's best attempts to persuade them that masking up and keeping a little distance would be enough to help a non-insignificant number of people be able to attend, they just refuse. So we won't be going back, because I just can't trust that other members in my ward will have any concern for the health concerns of my family and scouts I am committed to serving. We'll go back when one of these three conditions is met

  • The bishopric enforces masking expectations
  • The CDC declares that preventative measures are no longer necessary
  • The WHO declares the pandemic is over.

I suspect that the both wards will be meeting in the building weekly long before any of those conditions are met. If I'm honest, I'm struggling with resentment. It's a new feeling for me.  Not sure I like it.

I've had some .... new turmoil-esqe feelings about this whole thing as well.

Our bishopric tried to satisfy both mask camps by alternating a "mask required" and "mask optional" weeks.  Which... honestly I don't know if it's made anyone happy.  

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We've been able to go back to church for a month now, but in limited numbers (the family wards can only have 2/3rds the families in a week because there are too many people otherwise) and with strict restrictions in place. 

I honestly get so little out of it despite the fuss that I may as well not even be going. 

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The gospel has always been rather relationship oriented (Our relationship with Christ, our relationship with our spouse, kids, family, our friends neighbors community)  Therefore it should not be a surprise that when these relationships are at the forefront we can feel the spirit more easily.  (Christ of Course being the Foremost)

We also need to remember that we are covenant disciples of Christ who should have his "Spirit to be with us always."  We are also sinful mortals who fail and not always have his spirit with us.  We can't have the Spirit with us and not feel it.  Therefore if we are not feeling the Spirit, if we are not getting anything out of it, that is on us and we need to repent and do better.

Wherever we are, at home, at church, at work, on the road we should have his Spirit with us always... and if we don't... well we should take that as direction on what we need to work on next.

 

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We started going back once a month starting in June when we were still living down south. We separated into three groups. It was short and sweet with everyone wearing masks. As the organist, it was hard to hear anyone singing with the masks on.

Now that we are living in northern Utah, we are able to go twice a month separating into two groups. There are only two wards in our building. In this ward, there is no singing which is understandable. It’s harder to sing through a mask.

My husband, who doesn’t even like to sing, has mentioned how much he misses the singing. My oldest daughter misses having full church meetings. It’s been different and hard in some respects. It’s been difficult to get to know anyone in our new ward in current conditions. But we go anyway because it’s important to us that we take the sacrament.

Edited by Connie

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1 hour ago, Jane_Doe said:

I've had some .... new turmoil-esqe feelings about this whole thing as well.

Our bishopric tried to satisfy both mask camps by alternating a "mask required" and "mask optional" weeks.  Which... honestly I don't know if it's made anyone happy.  

It is a very hard thing to manage. In our ward we have tried to be sensitive to those who feel like everyone should wear masks, but do not want to be too heavy handed with those who feel otherwise...and vice versa. Most people who are scared about covid related stuff just stay home all the time anyways...they wouldn't come to our meetings even if they would be the only ones there. We want as many as possible to attend Sacrament meeting. For the most part, everyone has worn masks (begrudgingly), social distanced, and we have had little issue with anyone. There have been some problems, but overall it has been a good experience. However, since the brethren have asked us to wear masks in public in our area, the Stake President came out yesterday and said that until further notice, individuals must wear masks if they want to be present in Sacrament meetings. If you don't want to wear a mask, you will be asked to leave and watch the meeting broadcast from home. We are not looking forward to enforcing this next week, and know that there will be some drama with certain "don't tread on me" individuals. No one wants to be the "bad guy" telling someone that they are not able to come into the chapel to worship. Ultimately though, we came to the conclusion last week in Bishopric meeting that it isn't our job to make everyone feel happy. The brethren have given us guidelines, and we simply need to act like adults - have faith, be obedient, and follow our leaders.

Hopefully this whole thing blows over by next year once the flu and RSV season (and the election) are over.

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We went back for the first time yesterday, our ward has two attendance times and we will meet once a month.  We had 57 people in our session.  It was certainly a bit different in feeling, though I had a strong testifying moment from the spirit that we attend Sacrament Meeting for the Sacrament.  That is the most important, by far, reason we attend.  I knew this already and have said so many times, but the spirit definitely testified to that doctrine quite clearly.

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I've been two times in the last month, our ward is divided into five groups of 25 or less. Our ward is pretty scrupulous about following the guidelines, masks, wiping down the podium after each speaker, only recorded music etc. It was so awesome be back. Sure I would prefer the pandemic to be gone and for everything to be back to normal, it's really sparse with 25 people or less, but I love being back in the building. The Holy Ghost was so strong and, as much as I am grateful for my priesthood and being able to do at home service, there is something special about meeting together with the Saints to worship Christ. I am just glad I get to be back at church, it's gives me a feeling of normality in a world that's completely topsy turvy.

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We haven't been able to go  to church since March, although word is that small groups will be able to start again the middle of October. 

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Now it has changed again.  Half the ward meets in person and the other half watches by zoom.  If you are watching at zoom, you do the sacrament in your own home while the ones in the building have it while there.  That part is done at the end of the meeting and not by zoom.  Every other week we rotate.  Starting next week the remaining meetings are had on zoom.

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Our Stake started going back in June. (In one of the highest outbreaks and death rate States in the US.) Our ward met every week. They require mask but the Stake leadership even had everyone singing. 

Fast Forward to September. 

We received a new Stake Presidency and they immediately took all wards back to meeting 2  times a month, no singing and reduced the number allowed by about 30%. 
 

The area authority that attended the creation of the new Stake and Stake presidency had some interesting comments. One was we needed to get use to wearing mask, it was going to be a while before that need goes away. Second he asked members who were not attending church because they didn’t want to wear a mask, to reconsider their decision. 
 

Finally our previous Stake president had played pretty lose with the virus issues. He even had his mask off at times while sitting on the stand with the Area Authority. He quietly put his mask back on once the area authority made his comments above.

Edited by raven2

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Our ward has been meeting once a month, split into two sessions, first one for last names A-L, second for M-Z.   Then, a while back, we started doing twice a month.

Just got an email yesterday - we're returning to weekly church, one meeting together!  I think still just the 40 minute sacrament meeting only.  But yay - progress!

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On 9/26/2020 at 8:56 PM, NeuroTypical said:

Our ward has been meeting once a month, split into two sessions, first one for last names A-L, second for M-Z.   Then, a while back, we started doing twice a month.

Just got an email yesterday - we're returning to weekly church, one meeting together!  I think still just the 40 minute sacrament meeting only.  But yay - progress!

I have a daughter in the Prove-Orem area.  Supposedly they are having a massive outbreak, and yet they too just got notice that their wards are going to meet every week in like fashion you just described above..

She does not plan on attending, and I also suddenly have an issue I never thought I would.  She has long been faithful, tithe paying, and extremely true to the church.  I don't know if it is depression, or what is happening to her, but the news above has sent her into a slump. 

She noted that with the approach people are taking in her area, she doesn't know if she can support an organization doing this and currently, does not know if she will ever go back.  She told me this last night...and I don't know what to say to her on this.  I don't know if she is singular in this, or if this is felt by other members in areas that are doing this as well.  IF so, these actions could have serious ramifications on the Church in the future in these areas (a permanent loss of once formerly active members)...but I don't know what to say. 

I didn't even know it was legal at this point in Provo and Orem from what she's told me.  What I do know is that I need to restore her confidence in the Church as an organization.  I have told her that we aren't doing it to such a degree (that I know of yet), and that (hopefully) the members in our area and other areas of the world are approaching it with sensitivity and concern to those of high risk and susceptible categories.  We have zoom meetings for church, and even though people can go to weekly meetings at this point, they encourage those who cannot or are in the high risk areas to participate via zoom and at home rather than do something they are uncomfortable with.

However, I didn't seem to make a dent on her feelings (I left for a while so she could talk to her mother, perhaps her mother had more success than I did), which has made me feel a little discouraged in another fashion (that I have a daughter who may go inactive over this entire stuff).  I feel at a loss of what to say to help her though on this.

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Feel for you, JJ.  Other than love your daughter and be there for her, I don't know what to advise. 

I do know the church's approach to returning to church is very much a location-by-location thing.  The local leadership is supposed to be acting on city/county/state government guidelines.  Local leaders might be doing well or poorly at this, but I believe the church's response has been admirable.

 

 

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3 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

I have a daughter in the Prove-Orem area.  Supposedly they are having a massive outbreak, and yet they too just got notice that their wards are going to meet every week in like fashion you just described above..

She does not plan on attending, and I also suddenly have an issue I never thought I would.  She has long been faithful, tithe paying, and extremely true to the church.  I don't know if it is depression, or what is happening to her, but the news above has sent her into a slump. 

She noted that with the approach people are taking in her area, she doesn't know if she can support an organization doing this and currently, does not know if she will ever go back.  She told me this last night...and I don't know what to say to her on this.  I don't know if she is singular in this, or if this is felt by other members in areas that are doing this as well.  IF so, these actions could have serious ramifications on the Church in the future in these areas (a permanent loss of once formerly active members)...but I don't know what to say. 

I didn't even know it was legal at this point in Provo and Orem from what she's told me.  What I do know is that I need to restore her confidence in the Church as an organization.  I have told her that we aren't doing it to such a degree (that I know of yet), and that (hopefully) the members in our area and other areas of the world are approaching it with sensitivity and concern to those of high risk and susceptible categories.  We have zoom meetings for church, and even though people can go to weekly meetings at this point, they encourage those who cannot or are in the high risk areas to participate via zoom and at home rather than do something they are uncomfortable with.

However, I didn't seem to make a dent on her feelings (I left for a while so she could talk to her mother, perhaps her mother had more success than I did), which has made me feel a little discouraged in another fashion (that I have a daughter who may go inactive over this entire stuff).  I feel at a loss of what to say to help her though on this.

 I was/am in the exact spot your daughter is.  I'm in a university town that's spiking hard, and my local bishop is pushing more regular in person church- with masks specifically optional some days.  He also revoked the blanket permission to have church at home --- this was literally the same week the university ordered a extreme "shelter-in-place" order.     My family & the family we do "at-home" church were denied our request to continuing doing Sacrament at home.  My family and the other family had the choice of 1) forcefully to go a place we don't feel safe, or 2) go inactive.   I choose option 3) dramatically email the Stake President whom overruled the bishop.  

For me... it was a major reminder of how bishop's are flawed humans whom make mistakes like the rest of us.  I do NOT like the man whom is my bishop as a person or leader and feel he's made major mistakes.

But his mistakes are separate from the Perfect being that is my Lord & savior Jesus Christ.

I'm here at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints celebrating Jesus Christ, not the church of 'Mike Brown'. Mike Brown will pass, and his flaws/mistakes will be dealt with by Perfect Christ.  Just as my own flaws/mistakes will be.  

 

@JohnsonJones, if in the slim chance it'll help, I'd be willing to chat with you daughter.  Just send me a PM and I'll include my email.  

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