How does your faith community handle winter weather?

First Baptist Church in downtown Columbia, on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. Image courtesy Carol McEntyre.

First Baptist Church in downtown Columbia, on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. The church canceled its Sunday services due to weather conditions. Image courtesy Carol McEntyre.

When the winter weather turns severe, what happens to worship services?

The weather on Sunday (Jan. 5) prompted some local faith groups to cancel services.

The Missouri Department of Transportation had issued a “no travel advisory,” warning people that the wind and blowing snow could make visibility difficult. 

This image was posted in Memorial Baptist Church's Facebook group on Sunday, indicating the service cancelations. Photo courtesy Kevin Glenn.

This image was posted in Memorial Baptist Church’s Facebook group on Sunday, indicating the service cancelations. Photo courtesy Kevin Glenn.

Alive in Christ Lutheran Church, Memorial Baptist Church and First Baptist Church were among those that canceled their services because of the snow, ice and wind.

Meanwhile, some held services as usual. Sacred Heart Catholic Church still held mass, though attendance was low. Calvary Episcopal Church sent out a message to parishioners on Sunday morning saying there would still be services, for those who could get to church safely, but Sunday School and Children’s Chapel were canceled.

Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church canceled its 10:45 service but still held breakfast and hosted Loaves and Fishes, an evening meal ministry. 

How does your faith community handle severe winter weather?

Is there a plan in place, so people know what to expect when winter weather hits? How do people find out whether there will be services? What’s the thought process behind the decision to cancel or continue?

We’d love to know what your experience has been – leave a comment below to share. Thanks, and stay warm out there!

3 Responses to “How does your faith community handle winter weather?”

  1. Steve Swope

    Steve Swope

    Unfortunately, I’m the guy who makes the call on whether we cancel church or not. I say “unfortunately” because I’m probably not the best person to have this responsibility.

    I’ve spent decades in New England and northern Ohio, and I love snow and winter weather. Even worse, my minister-father (now retired) is terribly proud of his 40-year record of never canceling church, even through more than 20 years in Maine.

    Last March was the first time in 30 years I ever called off Sunday services. On January 5 I did it again. Why? I actually made it to church and opened the building.

    But I’ve learned there are always a few who will try to show up unless worship is canceled – even if it’s not safe for them to be driving or out in the cold. And I realized I’m responsible, as pastor, for more than my own safety.

    This time I was a little quicker than back in March to consider canceling. And I’ve already recognized things I can do even better, with more consideration for others – especially earlier notice about our 8:05 am service and 9:00 am faith education. It’s still new territory for me!

  2. Mickey Havener

    Our congregation of ten has an average age over 70. These faithful also take responsibility for clearing the sidewalk. As much as we like to worship, we try to minimize risk to our faithful elderly. If it’s too dangerous to clear the walk, it’s too dangerous to hold services.

  3. Tony Lakey

    Tony Lakey

    Atheists don’t generally have much of a weekly meeting place to begin with. Add to that my current lack of any sort of formal group, and it becomes much more than the inclement weather preventing me from venturing out to meet up with like-minded individuals. That being said, I do have a great group of friends that would closest fit any definition of “faith community” I could ascribe to. Unfortunately they live all over the country. We all talk pretty much daily online and the arctic weather has only given us more time to take to social media and “hangout” online.


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