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The Shape of the Church Post Covid.


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My 2 cents...the feedback I’ve received has focused on success in creating spiritual experiences in the home.  But that experience is far from universal.  On the flip side, most admit to being largely out of touch with those outside their immediate family.

Our current state has, for some, enhanced their efforts with respect to the first commandment but for nearly all has hindered their efforts with respect to the second commandment..  

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My 2 cents, based on our positive experience doing home church as a family. Rethinking weekly services : a) Shorter Sacrament meetings (30 to 45 mnts.)  b) Home church on fifth Sundays c) 

I am betting that those who live alone have a different experience. 

The majority of posters who have shared personal info  live outside of Utah or have for most of their lives if they went to BYU or like me moved here for a job after living all over the US and in othe

55 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I hope it helps people realize what is most important in their personal worship and helps the church realize we had too many meetings. I had always wondered how to strip the 'social' issues of church away from the spiritual and this has done it. I'm not looking forward to going back. I miss the temple far more church. Home church has been a blessing for my family. Will all that being said, we have to go back. Right now, most people in the ward know each other. I feel bad for the people who have moved in during covid who don't have 'friends' in the ward. It must be lonely moving somewhere with no church and no opportunities to get to know people.  The ward needs to meet together but it would be nice to analyze what further cuts could be made and still form the 'ties that bind' us together.

We live in a ward with a new subdivision going in and I think we've had around 15 new families move in since March.  It is hard to have so many new members in and of itself but to not be able to even put names to faces or faces to names is even worse.

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13 minutes ago, Calm said:

What is the Lord’s work and how is it best accomplished?  Imo, when it comes to fellow adult members, it is to a great extent serving those who mourn, etc. This is best done through deeper friendships rather than sincere, but shallow acquaintances.

It's not an either/or scenario.  

Many of my "deeper friendships" have started out as "sincere, but shallow acquaintances."

13 minutes ago, Calm said:

Teaching youth and investigators and new members is also the Lord’s work. I am not sure adults sitting in class always is though.

I think it is.

13 minutes ago, Calm said:

I would love to see more service projects for the ward as a whole as well as smaller groups, possibly even working at tailor making them for those who have a problem with getting involved generally. 

Again, this is not an either/or situation.  

I have spent the last 10 years working mostly remotely.  The impact it has had on my working relationships with co-workers has been acute and profound.  That is to say, I don't really have much in the way of relationships with them, certainly not anything like I have enjoyed in past jobs or environments where regular, face-to-face interaction and collaboration is the way of things.

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

My 2 cents...the feedback I’ve received has focused on success in creating spiritual experiences in the home.  But that experience is far from universal.  On the flip side, most admit to being largely out of touch with those outside their immediate family.

Our current state has, for some, enhanced their efforts with respect to the first commandment but for nearly all has hindered their efforts with respect to the second commandment..  

Yep.  I have a good friend who is single.  He has really struggled with missing out on Sunday services.

I also have a good friend who is a single mother.  Working out the administration of the Sacrament has been a challenge for her.

My wife is the YW president in our ward.  They have had several video-conference activities with the young women, but it's just . . . not the same.  Also, one of these young women is A) brand new to the YW program, B) from a Spanish-speaking home (though her English is pretty good), and C) on the cusp of losing her father to cancer.  My wife has found it difficult to minister to this young woman, who is not familiar with her (my wife) and the other young women, who needs help in cultural assimilation and acclimation, and who really could use a lot of love and support as her father nears death.  But as it stands, we can only do so much.  It's kind of hard to foster feelings of community, fellowship, support, etc. when we only interact with each other through computer screens.

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, bluebell said:

We live in a ward with a new subdivision going in and I think we've had around 15 new families move in since March.  It is hard to have so many new members in and of itself but to not be able to even put names to faces or faces to names is even worse.

Yep. 

I've "known" some of you for years and years.  And yet, never having met any of you face-to-face, we don't really have much of a "community" vibe.  

Thanks,

-Smac

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29 minutes ago, smac97 said:

It's not an either/or scenario.  

Nothing I have said presents it as either/or, so not sure where these comments are coming from. 

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

We live in a ward with a new subdivision going in and I think we've had around 15 new families move in since March.  It is hard to have so many new members in and of itself but to not be able to even put names to faces or faces to names is even worse.

I loved when I was a RS Secretary and was able to get to know the new families and their names well through our visits with them, when our ward had a new subdivision added on to the old neighborhood. Now I'm at a loss to know anyone's name. But back in the day when I was to keep track of attendance records, it sharpened my memory when as a presidency we would sit at the front of the RS room and have all of the women in front, so it helped to know their names. Nowadays, they pass around a roll I'm thinking. 

Edited by Tacenda
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Anecdotal info, FWIW:

My sisters ward has had a rash of foundation shaking divorces in the last 5 months.  

My ward has had a rash of YW coming out as LGBTQ.  

My RS president says most people are getting avoidant with the ongoing "check in on you" phone calls from Ministers and leaders.  As a leader myself, I'm tired of Checking In on people who clearly just want to be left alone.  I can identify with the previous comment - it's like we are all on religion vacation, and we don't want to be bothered.  IMO. 

 

We have been running online YW activities since March (blech) and we now have only the autistic girls participating. Its a total drag.  Not sure why we are meeting every single week this way - It's super overkill IMO.

Im in no rush to return to church, all the hand shaking, kids boogers, sacrament germs and all the repub?!c$^ anti maskers I"m disinclined.  That aside, I have come to decide that attending church is not as relaxing as staying home and doing a formal worship in my living room.  I understand the need for community, but I for one do NOT miss it. Besides, I haven't worn heels in 6 months and my feet thank me. :) 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I loved when I was a RS Secretary and was able to get to know the new families and their names well through our visits with them, when our ward had a new subdivision added on to the old neighborhood. Now I'm at a loss to know anyone's name. But back in the day when I was to keep track of attendance records, it sharpened my memory when as a presidency we would sit at the front of the RS room and have all of the women in front, so it helped to know their names. Nowadays, they pass around a roll I'm thinking. 

Very true!

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I am the YW President in my ward and we only have two girls attending Zoom activities. We have cut down to around every other week. We are also trying to get the YM and a couple of other wards involved in some of the activities. I miss meeting with the girls in person. They always brightened my day, even the “difficult” ones. I miss sacrament meeting (my husband and I aren’t going back yet) and the Temple. I don’t miss adult Sunday School or Relief Society - too many judgy people. So, once I am released from this calling, hopefully I will be called as a primary teacher:) 

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20 hours ago, Duncan said:

Getting people back to the chapel will prove to be a challenge i'm betting. In the last two weeks we've had 45 people attend church out of 150 that could

 

One thing I found odd was at the angel Moroni raising was people weren't wearing masks but most of them won't attend church due to it being not safe enough🤔

Wow, even the “Great White North”, are going back, but here in the Sunny South no? How did you manage? I am debating, if when we return, would it be proper for me to wear my Army face masks, or should go with something plain? 

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20 hours ago, Sine Saw Square said:

Hi all, I mostly lurk and read what more learned people have to say. I'd love to know what you all think about this:

For close to 6 months now the entire Church population (at least in the USA) has effectively been 'inactive'. I know I know, home-centered worship and all that. It's great! Which actually is part of what I'm wondering. The few people with kids, that I've talked to about 'home church' have mostly had positive experiences. My brother, who's a bishop, has enjoyed the extra time at home and the convenience of meeting remotely, for example. I've found it similarly pleasant. My family has had some profound Sunday experiences. We do Come Follow Me almost every night which is almost like a nightly FHE.  I know there are others who don't have that kind of experience. They might be isolated and alone, or have unstable family situations, and so on.  But we're all experiencing something unique in our "regular" Church lives.

Building on that thought, how are the youth experiencing this moment? What kind of long term affect will separation from the weekly tradition of going to Church, participating in classes and programs, and regular connections have on this generation as they grow in to adulthood? How will they view weekly attendance?  Will they think it unsafe? Will they view it as necessary in some fundamental way?  I think my kids will look back with fondness on the time we've been able to grow closer together. What will that memory do to their view of being active?

Lastly, Missionary service. I really feel for the missionaries in our ward. They are very limited in what activities they can do. Our sisters are even teaching someone in another country over video conferencing. In someways they have become a charity for the ward members to support with increased requests to host the missionaries for porch-visits or 'drive by prayers' in the Stake Center parking lot. I imagine how tough that would be on my mission if I couldn't go to someone's house to teach a lesson, tract or even go street contacting. It seems like missions right now aren't really working. I know of young people who want to serve a mission, but don't want to serve THIS kind of mission with home-mtc, and being isolated in an apartment somewhere.

So far I believe the Church's response has been very competent. A lot of changes happened just in time helping is better cope with the current moment. That certainly seems inspired.  (Scouts, Come Follow Me, Home centered gospel, etc). 

What I'd love to hear from you is, what lasting effects you think this current moment will have on the Church as an institution, tradition, or practice? Will we need to rethink missionary service? Weekly worship? How about this rising generation? How will they see things?

Thanks! (I'm usually rather busy and don't have time to post much but I'll enjoy your answers).

California is still closed to meetings of any kind, but our missionaries do an FHE every other monday night, and we do Sunday School -weekly,  all of this using Zoom, of course.  Our Sunday School runs around 25 people weekly, actually about what we would get in class at church

Pretty interesting because those invited by the missionaries are sometimes "investigators" and sometimes just barely !

We had one woman attend sacrament meeting last week in that second category, who was quite bold in her questions, and kind of did not get the purpose of the meeting- she just thought it was some kind of Christian group praising Jesus etc.  Because she was someone the missionaries just met, she kept asking who this "Alma" person was- because she could not find that name in her Bible.  ;)

She had never heard of the Book of Mormon, but knew that "Mormons" were some kind of religious group like the Jehovah's Witnesses etc.

What happened was a derail of Sunday School and 25 people chiming in on a door approach and first discussion at the same time!!

As it was, the missionaries had already scheduled a home visit with her for right after the Sunday School meeting- I am sure her invitation was just one of those "By the way, we are having this meeting just before we meet with you..." kind of things that the missionaries did not anticipate what her attendance might mean for Sunday School

But on the other hand, it was kind of cool to be back in one of those discussions- it was like having an investigator come to your house to meet the 25 people in your family!!

But it went well, everyone was very kind in fielding her questions and I think it was a positive experience for all.

Edited by mfbukowski
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9 minutes ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Wow, even the “Great White North”, are going back, but here in the Sunny South no? How did you manage? I am debating, if when we return, would it be proper for me to wear my Army face masks, or should go with something plain? 

ah, it's still a thing but legally we can't have more than 50 people at Church, which they are pretty tight on. Our big worry is whether or not the Temple will be dedicated, they have assigned an Apostle to come and we are hoping he can cross the border. Masks are recommended but not required and I don't care who wears one or not. It was just odd though people don't go to church because of the virus yet there some of them are at the temple site for the Moroni statue raising, without a mask on as if a virus takes a break from infecting anyone. Guess we'll see if anyone croaks

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Yep. 

I've "known" some of you for years and years.  And yet, never having met any of you face-to-face, we don't really have much of a "community" vibe.  

Thanks,

-Smac

It would be interesting if we could make replies via short videos here.

Just something to run up the flag pole. 

All we would have to do is make a selfie-video, limit the time, and upload it like you would share any video.....   even I can figure out that one!!

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4 minutes ago, Duncan said:

ah, it's still a thing but legally we can't have more than 50 people at Church, which they are pretty tight on. Our big worry is whether or not the Temple will be dedicated, they have assigned an Apostle to come and we are hoping he can cross the border. Masks are recommended but not required and I don't care who wears one or not. It was just odd though people don't go to church because of the virus yet there some of them are at the temple site for the Moroni statue raising, without a mask on as if a virus takes a break from infecting anyone. Guess we'll see if anyone croaks

There seems to be a feeling at least in my ward that if you are doing the Lord's work, you don't have faith that He will protect you if you wear a mask of are concerned about going to someone's house to give a blessing etc.

That's tough for me, because yes I have faith that the Lord can protect me, but on the other hand, I know that bad things happen to good people- assuming I am at least trying to be one- ;) and that he allows for natural consequences when you put yourself in danger stupidly.

So wha'doya'do ?

 

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26 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

There seems to be a feeling at least in my ward that if you are doing the Lord's work, you don't have faith that He will protect you if you wear a mask of are concerned about going to someone's house to give a blessing etc.

That's tough for me, because yes I have faith that the Lord can protect me, but on the other hand, I know that bad things happen to good people- assuming I am at least trying to be one- ;) and that he allows for natural consequences when you put yourself in danger stupidly.

So wha'doya'do ?

 

harmless as a dove but wise as a serpent

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42 minutes ago, Duncan said:

ah, it's still a thing but legally we can't have more than 50 people at Church, which they are pretty tight on. Our big worry is whether or not the Temple will be dedicated, they have assigned an Apostle to come and we are hoping he can cross the border. Masks are recommended but not required and I don't care who wears one or not. It was just odd though people don't go to church because of the virus yet there some of them are at the temple site for the Moroni statue raising, without a mask on as if a virus takes a break from infecting anyone. Guess we'll see if anyone croaks

True, odd for an outside event. 

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The shape of the Church post-Covid?

Pear-shaped, I'm guessing. That's been the case with me anyway. :)

1 hour ago, Duncan said:

Our big worry is whether or not the Temple will be dedicated, they have assigned an Apostle to come and we are hoping he can cross the border.

He can cross the border. He'll just need to isolate for 14 days afterward. Unless he can convince the Chief Public Health Officer that he will provide an essential service or convince the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness that his presence in Canada is in the national interest (see section 6 of https://orders-in-council.canada.ca/attachment.php?attach=39482&lang=en).

Edited by Nevo
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3 minutes ago, Nevo said:

The shape of the Church post-Covid?

Pear-shaped, I'm guessing. That's been the case with me anyway. :)

He can cross the border. He'll just need to isolate for 14 days afterward. Unless he can convince the Chief Public Health Officer that he will provide an essential service or convince the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness that his presence in Canada is in the national interest (see section 6 of https://orders-in-council.canada.ca/attachment.php?attach=39482&lang=en).

seriously! well, him isolating here in November, if it were me, i'd say HARD PASS, he couldn't go anywhere and there is only so many Timbits one can eat. So, I don't know what will happen but I am not sure he'd want to isolate but unless he can convince those people as you say , we may have an Apostle here for sometime hahhaha!

An option I was thinking maybe he can do it remotely? just have a broadcast of sorts and skip all that cornerstone stuff and photos, strange times indeed. I doubt they would get an Area Seventy to do it. Apparently we are all supposed to pray for him to come here but bishop's aren't great at communicating apparently

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7 hours ago, Durangout said:

I’m in the ward bishopric.  Sundays were just work.  Now Sundays are a joy.  

Based on what many people I’ve talked to feel, they have realized that church offers little more than a social experience for them.  Their worship at home is superior to that at church.

I’m guessing that the long term activity rate will drop by at least 20%.

Reading the posts, I get the impression that most in the board are life long members.

The church in our area pretty much vanished. The fact is that for new converts the church is a critical link to their nurturing and strengthening of their faith and they all but lost it. Other than a phone call here and there from the leadership, the members were left to their own devices. A church that doesn't meet is not a church. For the early Christians, the converts of Asia Minor, meetings were the life blood of their new faith. Imagine that the Church stopped meeting, what would have happened to them?

If all people get is a "social experience", there are better options out there. It is sad, from my perspective, that fear and submission to draconian and unnecessary measures derailed the long years of consistent effort in cultivating the faith of many that now are scattered to the wind.

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9 hours ago, let’s roll said:

My 2 cents...the feedback I’ve received has focused on success in creating spiritual experiences in the home.  But that experience is far from universal.  On the flip side, most admit to being largely out of touch with those outside their immediate family.

Our current state has, for some, enhanced their efforts with respect to the first commandment but for nearly all has hindered their efforts with respect to the second commandment..  

Yeah, but that is not limited to the church. It is everyone except people who do a lot of video calls.

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10 hours ago, Islander said:

Reading the posts, I get the impression that most in the board are life long members.

The church in our area pretty much vanished. The fact is that for new converts the church is a critical link to their nurturing and strengthening of their faith and they all but lost it. Other than a phone call here and there from the leadership, the members were left to their own devices. A church that doesn't meet is not a church. For the early Christians, the converts of Asia Minor, meetings were the life blood of their new faith. Imagine that the Church stopped meeting, what would have happened to them?

If all people get is a "social experience", there are better options out there. It is sad, from my perspective, that fear and submission to draconian and unnecessary measures derailed the long years of consistent effort in cultivating the faith of many that now are scattered to the wind.

Church literally is a social thing. However, social connections can be made outside of in-person experiences. I think all of us who value society of others need to adapt to plugging in more to the alternatives, be it letters, calls, emails, Zooming, etc... And help others adapt. There will always be (and always have been) members who could not meet in person as much or at all. I think this is an opportunity to open church to more individuals.

Edited by Meadowchik
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I hate it the way it is now. We got caught between wards.

We still pay our tithes to the ward up in Stockton. We split our time between Redlands, Ca and Ensenada Mexico. We never got signed into a new Ward because we were kind of chicken and our Spanish is lousy. I'm going to do a drive-by on the church in Ensenada and see if they're having services.

Our personal relationship with Heavenly Father has been excellent due to many trials and tribulations at our last marina. It's pretty easy to pray when bullets are flying overhead. I can't remember the last time I took the sacrament. I am only an Aronnic priesthood holder. I guess I could ask my last Bishop if I can serve the sacrament at home.

PS I love all of you that socialize with me in the Social Hall and I really appreciate your friendships.

Edited by rodheadlee
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10 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

I hate it the way it is now. We got caught between wards.

We still pay our ties to the ward up in Stockton. We split our time between Redlands, Ca and Ensenada Mexico. We never got signed into a new Ward because we were kind of chicken and our Spanish is lousy. I'm going to do a drive-by on the church in Ensenada and see if they're having services.

Our personal relationship with heavenly father has been excellent do to many trials and tribulations at our last marina. It's pretty easy to pray when bullets are flying overhead. I can't remember the last time I took the sacrament. I am only an Aronnic priesthood holder. I guess I could ask my last Bishop if I can serve the sacrament at home.

PS I love all of you that socialize with me in the Social Hall and I really appreciate your friendships.

I love reading your posts! 

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