I’m having second thoughts about attending in-person church services starting on July 5 as I described three posts back.
Even with masks, distancing, 50-gal drums of hand sanitizer, no singing or touching, etc., I’m creeped out about being indoors with a bunch of people. Full disclosure: this is an Episcopal choir and I joined it a little over a year ago because the director is a dear friend whom I love very much. She is also the director of the college choir that I’ve been in for 20 years and that has been completely shut down for the fall.
However, I’m not into the religious part. I’m Jewish, so I just sing and refrain from participating in the service itself. To the choir members, the prayer/worship part is very important. Especially communion. I’m in it for the singing and fellowship. My own synagogue is going to start having in-person services soon, but they’re limiting the number of participants and you have to sign up online as you do for classes and such. (I’m guessing this will make contact tracing easier in case they need it later-- knock on wood they won’t.) BUT even so, the synagogue has said that members over age 60 should NOT sign up for the in-person services and should continue to watch the live stream. Attendance at Reform Jewish services is not mandatory for anyone. I always light my candles at home. Attendance at a Jewish Shabbat service doesn’t have the spiritual impact to the attendee that communion and Mass do. (The Episcopals don’t call it “mass,” but I grew up Catholic and that’s exactly what it is. Word for word. Even if they don’t support the Pope.)
I miss the choir members soooo much. I miss singing (but we won’t be singing). As a single person with no family, I treasure this group that has welcomed me and made me feel like I belong. I’m reluctant to walk away from that belonging. I don’t have **anyone **I see regularly except my hairdresser and my cleaning lady. My book club has gone to Zoom. That’s the extent of my contact with the outside world.
Is it worth the risk to me (I ask myself)? If I were a church member, then yes, the spiritual benefit would be worth the risk so that I could attend mass and receive communion. The camaraderie would be secondary to the spiritual reasons. But for me the camaraderie is not just the primary reason, it’s the only reason. Waiting til COVID is over-- will it EVER really be over. But as I and others have said in this thread, that could be a year.
And it would mean starting on July 5 to attend regularly every Sunday. With all the protocols in place, of course, but that’s more exposure. At the end of July they’re bringing a new pastor on board, and I’d really like to participate in that… dang.
OTOH if I said I was not comfortable attending the others would understand. For all I know some other choir members may also decide not to attend. At 71 I’m one of the younger members. We’re very much an at-risk group. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that the director’s husband had a lung transplant about a year and a half ago. Anyway, no one would make me feel bad for not coming.
I guess I could go on July 5 and see what it’s like-- protocols, distancing, yaddayaddayadda. The would give me more data to help me decide.
Okay… rambling now… must ponder this some more.