Church is essential

Dear Editor:

A church in the Waterloo region was recently fined for opening its doors for worship. While I do not agree with the apparent cavalier fashion in which they gathered, with people arriving un-masked and with no attempt at distancing, I do applaud their determination to worship God as a community of believers.

It has been reported on nearly a daily basis how much people are hurting during this health crisis; how people are lonely; how the bereaved grieve alone; how mental anguish is being felt through separation of family and friends.

One of the main functions of the community church is to be a meeting place where families and friends gather to find support, strength and comfort as they worship God in the company of like-minded believers.  Where then does it become a good decision to eliminate that resource from individuals and communities suffering in so many ways?

Isn’t it interesting to see stores such as LCBO and variety stores remain open because they fall under the heading of essential services, but it’s okay to close the church?  If it is so vital that we have access to liquor and lottery tickets, how much more important is it that we are able to meet as a caring community from which many receive their spiritual strength and peace in the face of very challenging circumstances. How much more is the local church an essential service?

While I appreciate the efforts of many clergy to offer a worship time online, I feel this truly does not meet the many spiritual needs of your flocks.

Worshipping through word and song as a community, even while adhering to the masking and distancing protocols, brings a degree of satisfaction and hope and joy to those who believe.

Is there no one in our local churches who will stand up for the rights of the church to be treated as the essential service it is?

Maureen and Doug Sargent,