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Thread: Fellow Parishioner Won't Wear Mask

  1. #1
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    Fellow Parishioner Won't Wear Mask

    My church does not have a vaccine requirement, but we do require that everyone wear a mask and distance.

    We are located in a major metro area where there is a high rate of transmission now with Omicron.

    Everyone cooperates *except one parishioner* who from the beginning has refused to keep her mask on. The pastor has written to her and spoken to her personally repeatedly. The ushers have spoken to her repeatedly. She just plain refuses.

    I have communicated my extreme distress about this to the pastor and he's been sympathetic but he says he can't do any more than what he is already doing -- frequent reminders which she ignores. He is not going to tell her to stop attending church.

    For a while I tried to just ignore and not look at her, but with the surging numbers now I find it terribly upsetting that this person, who is a longtime member is behaving this way. To me, this is not only risky, it is a sign of blatant disrespect towards the rest of the parish.

    Complaining accomplishes exactly nothing. I'm actually thinking I would be better off just not attending for a few months or possibly as a permanent decision. I've been a member for 25 years, so this really hurts. I feel that effectively I am being pushed out of this parish.

    I'm going to respectfully ask that people on these Boards who don't think masking is effective or important refrain from responding.

    If members who do support the importance of masking have advice or insight I would welcome it.

    This pandemic has really hurt communities.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Vote with your donations. Make it clear no more money until she’s no longer in church without a mask.

    No one shows up at mine without a mask. She would be told to leave and physically escorted out if she refused to wear a mask at my parish.

    Has your pastor said why he refuses to forbid her to attend?

    I don’t know which denomination you belong to. Is there local/regional leadership you can kick the issue upstairs to?

  3. #3
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel View Post
    I have communicated my extreme distress about this to the pastor and he's been sympathetic but he says he can't do any more than what he is already doing -- frequent reminders which she ignores. He is not going to tell her to stop attending church.
    Why not? I actually had a family member told they could not continue to attend church because of their behavior (sad to say).

    So, you have two options, since your pastor would rather put that one parishioner before the wishes of the congregation. You can stay at home and watch streamed services, if they are offered, and let the pastor know why you are doing that. Or you can make sure you don't sit near that person and try to detach from their behavior. Enjoy the service anyway, sitting with others who are complying with wearing masks.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  4. #4
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    How many attend services?

    How long is the service?

    Is the current recommendation to mask and distance oneself if contact is for longer than fifteen minutes within six feet, and within one hour when in the same room even if six foot spaced? I looked for a link and found nothing current, so apologies if not the standard at this time.

    I think what Catherine says is your only option. Ultimately, you can only be responsible for you and your family if the pastor will do nothing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Organize your fellow parishioners and force change.

  6. #6
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Are the unmasked the modern equivalent of lepers? I think the pastor is probably thinking, 'What would Jesus do?'.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

  7. #7
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I have a friend who refuses vaccine and mask. I struggled with this approach and finally realized that she is not living the 'Golden Rule' while professing allegiance to the church, its goals and its activities.

    Keep it simple. If she won't follow something as basic as the Golden Rule, is she an asset to the church or a liability?
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    Organize your fellow parishioners and force change.
    Agreed. Why does this woman get a pass?

  9. #9
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan View Post
    Are the unmasked the modern equivalent of lepers? .
    No. Leprosy is not nearly as contagious as Covid-19.

  10. #10
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    As someone else mentioned, I would actually ask the pastor why he is putting this one person ahead of the rest of his congregation. With that knowledge in hand, I agree with what others have suggested or simply not attending at all until YOU are comfortable doing so.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

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