RIP Rossweisse, HellHost and long-time Shipmate.
Please see the thread in All Saints remembering her.

Sunday church attendance

Nothing here to do with Corona virus. I was speaking recently to a Presbyterian minister in the Church of Scotland who told me that if she had a Sunday 'off' she would go swimming and then for a coffee. Some Presbyterian friends tell me that when they are on holiday that they don't go to church. These friends are people who are greatly involved in the life of their parish but when they are away from home they don't go to church,even at Christmas.
I am not talking here about people who occasionally go to church, if they have nothing better to do.
Is this quite common amongst Presbyterians,or indeed Protestants in general ?
Is it myself who am unduly constrained by a long ingrained habit of 'Sunday obligation' ?


  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    When I was a kid we went to church regardless. On holiday it was a question of finding the nearest acceptable church i.e. in England URC or Methodist except at my Grandparent's when we quite often attended their church which was Baptist. Sunday attendance was de rigeur

    Since then it has become slightly different culturally. Most people do not attend every week because quite often family commitments preclude it. For me personally, I lost the habit of going to church when away during my PhD. The sheer intensity of being in the ethnographic field while worshipping meant that I mentally could not sustain weekly worship and it seemed a good idea for the non-attendance weeks to include those when I was away.

    The general approach has not been to stress 'Sunday Obligation' but to ask people to take seriously Hebrews 10:25 to not give up the habit of meeting together. However, this may be fulfilled by attendance at a mid-week meeting so although attendance is encouraged on a Sunday it is not the sole focus.
  • Good question.

    I can really only speak of my own situation, where a small Anglican congregation gathers in varying numbers week by week.

    Why varying? A generation or so ago, the same people would have been in church most Sundays, but not so now, because of several factors - work schedules, family issues, health issues - all sorts of things, though their commitment to Christ and His Church may not at all be in doubt IYSWIM.

    FatherInCharge does try from time to time to remind people that Mass is said DAILY, and one or two have recently started to come along when they know they might not be able to make it on Sunday, so that's encouraging. IMHO, the actual times of the daily service need to be revised slightly, but that's mainly due to my own aversion to Too Early, or Too Late - I prefer somewhen around midday!

    I think @Jengie Jon is right, and that 'our' (we're in the UK) culture has changed in the past generation or so, and we need to be aware of this.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    It is interesting. I sometimes go when I have a Sunday off, but only if I am out of the local presbytery area, otherwise I am too well known. We get visitors most weeks in summer and quite often at other times as well, so obviously some do attend when on holiday. And some of my faithful tell me of churches where they have been when away (and we sometimes get good ideas from them)!
    But I think the “Sunday is wrong without church” thought that I was brought up on has changed, even among the faithful.
  • Yes. I rarely take a Sunday off, and, even when I do, I'll go to some other church (just to Spy on them :naughty: ).

    We have some folk who, when away with family in West Wales, do always make a point of attending the local C in W parish. This is a Good Thing - except when they come back, and go on (and on) about how lively the Vicar is, how lively (and short) the service is, and so on... :grimace:
  • Forthview wrote: »
    I am not talking here about people who occasionally go to church, if they have nothing better to do.
    Is this quite common amongst Presbyterians,or indeed Protestants in general ?
    Is it myself who am unduly constrained by a long ingrained habit of 'Sunday obligation'?

    I go, and consider it an obligation to make a reasonable effort to go. I'll usually manage to go when I'm travelling for work, and try to go when we're on vacation, but sometimes constraints of either scheduling or transport means it doesn't happen, and I end up making do with saying morning prayer by myself in a hotel room.

    And sometimes I'm sick and don't go.

    There have been occasional days when we've had a family day out on Sunday, and not gone to church because we wanted to start early, but those are pretty rare. I'm not worried about skipping a week now and then for a good reason (and I'd call a family day out a good reason), but won't skip a week because I'm not feeling like going.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    edited March 13
    If I’m not at work, but at home, it can be difficult to know where to go. I can’t see it being reasonably possible for my usual congregation to treat me as if I’m not the vicar. And having had wider responsibilities in the past, I can’t easily go to another place incognito.

    When we’re away we usually reckon to be at church on Sunday, and since that’s usually in Scotland we usually find ourselves worshipping CoS. One of the good things about it is because it’s another denomination it’s easier to switch off my liturgical critical faculties.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I rarely miss a Sunday, but if I do I'm not holy enough to find a week day mass to compensate. This coming Sunday I won't be able to get to mass - I'll be in the air - but hope to get to evensong at St George's cathedral ... in case I don't I prayed the office with the staff and yoof of the cathedral in the town wherein I am (we are) temporarily ensconced. Sheer beauty ...
  • A fair point.

    I usually go to another Anglican church, or (if visiting my sister in France) to an RC Mass, but joining in with the worship of Another Denomination is probably a Good Thing™!

    I once went to both Sunday morning and evening services at a little Baptist church in Oban (the Piskie Cathedral being temporarily CLOSED... :flushed: ).

    I was made very welcome, and enjoyed both. The morning service was fairly lively, with families, the evening worship rather quieter and more reflective. I was glad I'd made the effort.
  • We try to get to church (usually Anglican) on our Sundays off. If we're at home we'll go to the local parish church, which we like; however the service is a Bit Early if we're wanting a lie-in so we have been known not to make it! When we lived in Suffolk we used to like going to Eucharist or Evensong at St Edmundsbury Cathedral; when in London we'd go to Southwark. We have been once to Evensong at our local Cathedral here and didn't like it at all - an odd atmosphere, we felt.
  • AravisAravis Shipmate
    My parents always insisted on going to church (preferably Baptist) when on holiday - I think it’s more a generational thing.
    I don’t usually bother except when we’re in Brittany, when I go to Sunday mass at the local cathedral because I like trying to see if I can follow the sermon (this is getting harder as my hearing has deteriorated) and because the cathedral in Treguier is so much more human and friendly than my local cathedral (the same cathedral Baptist Trainfan was referring to).
  • Jengie JonJengie Jon Shipmate
    I do not think it is a generational thing. For the last ten plus years, my parents were at best intermittent attendees at church. That would have been incomprehensible to their younger selves. It started when mum stopped being church treasurer and started going with Dad on preaching engagements. However, when Mum needed Dad with her all the time so Dad could not preach, even though Dad was still driving, they did not resume regular attendance at their church.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    I'm a parish musician. Wife and I usually go to church on Sunday when we are away - curiosity about how other places do things is a strong impetus for me.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Indeed there are now many Catholics for whom once a month counts as Sunday obligation and the Church is glad when anyone comes anytime. In a way we are lucky in generally having at least in the cities a good choice of times and places to come together and pray with fellow Catholics in a communal celebration of the Sunday liturgy.
    I know of a number of our parishioners who come to Saturday noon Mass as it quieter and shorter and good for those whose health does not allow them to last out for Sunday Mass. Equally one now finds a number of people who come at other times during the week because work schedules prevent their attendance on a Sunday.
    We are a community and it is important that we come together regularly for worship.

    For myself, and obviously that is not necessarily the same for everyone else, I love to visit churches and participate in worship with others. Only once in my life have I not been within reach of a Catholic church on a Sunday, but I was able to attend the liturgy in an Orthodox church in Kiev on that occasion in the 1970s.
    Moscow and Leningrad (now St Petersburg) were also fascinating.
    When I lived in Austria it was always exciting to go over the mountains into Slovenia/Jugoslavia to go to Mass there although it was at the time the Mass was in Latin.
    A very special memory was one time I was in Ljubljana, just at the time that the vernacular came into use. The church was the Franciscan church and for some reason they were singing the litany, the part which had in Latin the response 'Te rogamus,audi nos' (hear us please).It was for me anyway a very special moment to hear these words in Slovenian.

    I enjoy also worshipping with fellow Christians who are not Catholics and than all those who shared their points of view.
  • I am in the habit of attending every Sunday, and when I am off-island I will seek out a service nearby if I can to give me the opportunity to share communion or at least attend Mass, as communion is rare in these parts. The only time I will miss a Sunday service is if the logistics of travel prevent me (e.g. if I have a medical appointment on Monday I may need to travel on the Sunday and not be able to get to a service at either end; or a cancelled ferry or flight turns a Saturday journey into a Sunday one). I've rocked up at midweek services in various places at different times: Stirling, Dunoon, Lochgilphead, Oban (which is my mother church), Glasgow, Edinburgh (the pattern of daily worship at the piskie cathedral is very pleasing), wherever work or events happen to take me. I certainly attend while on holiday, whether in Wales, Orkney, or the lands of the heathen Saxons ( ;) ). I almost certainly picked up the habits from my parents, who led us to protestant services in French cathedrals and at Eurocamp, and to Diocese in Europe chaplaincies, and to tiny piskie chapels in the borders or Welsh speaking Anglican congregations in Snowdonia.
  • If I'm away on a Sunday I take the opportunity to go somewhere else as a member of the congregation, usually for a sung service but a said 8am HC if it works better. The only exception is if I'm on a boat.
  • I hardly get to church at all these days but do get to evensong and compline occasionally where these are available. It's odd because whilst my 'daily office' observance is more rigorous than once it was, my Sunday attendance is sporadic. I am kind of 'in-between' and know I need to settle and don't want to be in limbo indefinitely.

    I used to bob into church services on holiday quite regularly, mostly Anglican but occasionally Methodist or URC.
  • I like to see what other people are doing, so I'll often go to church - preferably presbyterian - when we're away, and I just like to go to church on Sunday. I know several presbyterian ministers who will go Lutheran on a Sunday off. They feel quite at home there, they don't have to travel very far and can be comfortably incognito. I'm tempted to visit the Anglicans too, as everyone knows they get the best music.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I will usually go to church when on holiday, but not always. My preference is for an evening service - Evensong, if poss.. IF I can find a BCP Communion service I might go to Communion, but that can be tricky. It would be nice if there was somewhere with Choral Matins within striking range of where I hang out on holiday, but the closest is Lincoln, and the parking there is pretty awful.
  • I expect you know of the Prayer Book Society's website, and their Service Finder, but here it is:

    Alas, I suspect that, in many cases, it's out-of-date, but the PBS can only alter it if someone TELLS them!

    Our Place has BCP Matins (by the book) on Sundays at 930am (usually with an Office Hymn, sung a capella ), but the hordes of seekers after BCP services, postulated by one or two Shipmates, never seem to materialise...

  • IME the PBS website is reliant on each diocesan chapter keeping their own entries up-to-date so it comes down to how good the diocesan PBS secretary is.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I know what you mean about the non-existent hoards, but on the other hand we have found our niche as the local BCP parish and we seem to be doing OK at keeping the lights on and the bills paid. Our ASA has been edging upwards rather than downwards which is an achievement these days.
  • IME the PBS website is reliant on each diocesan chapter keeping their own entries up-to-date so it comes down to how good the diocesan PBS secretary is.

    I thought it was up to the individual parish to keep the PBS Head Office informed - at least, it was I who made sure that Our Place's entry was up-to-date.

    In any case, the local PBS person can only act on information received!
    PDR wrote: »
    I know what you mean about the non-existent hoards, but on the other hand we have found our niche as the local BCP parish and we seem to be doing OK at keeping the lights on and the bills paid. Our ASA has been edging upwards rather than downwards which is an achievement these days.

    Good! And there are, of course, churches in the UK which fill the BCP niche market with some success.
  • I try not to miss and am not particular as to denomination as long as I can share in a community of faith.
  • I try not to miss and am not particular as to denomination as long as I can share in a community of faith.

    I'm of the "any port in a storm" persuasion. On one occasion I was in the north west highlands on a Sunday prior to a job interview and could only find details of the service held by the Wee Frees (might even have been the Wee Wee Frees) but nonetheless set off, albeit with some trepidation, to make the trek from my hotel. I was rather relieved, having soaked my boots traversing a foot-deep flooded path, an outpost of the Kirk not 10 minutes into their morning service.
  • We also try to attend a local church and are not fussy about denomination.
    When I was younger I went on holiday with a group of 20 friends and half of us decided to try out the little Methodist church on the beach at Bridport (apparently now closed). We doubled the congregation and I think the visiting minister was quite surprised to see us but everyone was very welcoming.
  • Black CatBlack Cat Shipmate Posts: 20
    My Catholic education drummed in the importance (duty) of going to mass on Sunday. Once when Dad didn't take us - and he really mustn't have been well because I can actually only remember that happening once - I felt terribly guilty and tried to say lmy own sort of mass at home because I really felt we should have gone! I was at primary school...

    Later and now, going on holiday, I really like it when we don't arrive at our destination on a Saturday because, confession time, apart from being less keenthese days, I really don't like arriving, doing the shopping for a week, settling in, having a meal etc, and then having to set the alarm to get to mass on the first morning of the holiday. That's when we're still in France, as the family (well not the student age junior generation) are all still churchgoers. If in the UK we're up for any sort of service. I particularly enjoy the chance to hear and sing hymns I never ever hear this side of the channel.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    My history of going to church while on vacation is mixed. Sometimes I do, other times I don't. Vacation means just that.

    When I was active in the ministry, though, if I had a visiting pastor at the congregation I served, I would ask them (ahead of time) if they would like to read the Gospel lesson for that Sunday. As I recall, everyone accepted the invitation.
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