To the Editor:
The writer of a recent letter to the editor sees limiting the ability of places of worship to open their doors and continue as though we are not in the midst of a pandemic, as state persecution.
The question I ask is this: What is a place of worship? There is a song sung in Christian churches called We Are the Church: The church (synagogue, mosque, temple) is not a building. The church is not a steeple. The church is a not a dwelling place. The church is the people.
We do not have to be in a building to worship together. My church has worship services every Sunday morning on Zoom. We pray, sing hymns, enjoy special music played or sung by soloists, read scripture, hear a sermon, take communion all from the safety of our own homes.
Seeing the faces of all those participating gives me a sense of community. On Palm Sunday, members were sent a template to draw palm branches that they could wave during the service. Some cut branches from trees or bushes in their yards. We had services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday on Zoom.
We also do not have to be in a building together to continue our ministries.
• We have a Bible study each week on Zoom.
• All of the church’s committees continue their work by using Zoom to meet.
• We have participated in Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters for a number of years. Since we couldn’t do that in person this year, we had a virtual Offering of Letters.
• To celebrate Earth Day, we had a virtual Green Living Fair spread out over several weeks.
• Both the Crystal Lake and Woodstock Interfaith Food Pantries continue to serve clients. Food donations and volunteers to staff the pantries are still needed.
What all faith groups need to be asking themselves is, “How can we continue to be the church (synagogue, mosque, temple) and serve the needs of people during this time? What new doors are opening for us? What is God calling us to do? Are we willing to change?”