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Masks in Church Services

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Masks in Church Services

More and more state governments are issuing mandatory mask orders. This issue of being ordered to wear a mask in public is polarizing our nation. People are furious about their “rights” being taken away, about government overstepping its authority, and whether or not masks even work. These are certainly perilous times in which we now live. The apostle Paul listed 19 attributes of people in the last days and among that list are lovers of themselves, proud, unloving, headstrong and haughty (2 Timothy 3:1-5 2 Timothy 3:1-5 [1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
American King James Version×
). These are many of the impulses and attitudes that we see in the world around us as people are warring over this matter, digging in their heels and demanding their “rights.”

We must NOT allow the influences of this world to create polarization within the Church. Many pastors have shared issues that are “bubbling” in their local congregations over the mask issue. We might have very strong opinions about the efficacy of masks, or strong views about what is happening politically.

However, we must have peace at services on the Sabbath. Our pastors must make decisions based upon state and local conditions. When these mandates do not contradict scripture, they must be followed. Nothing in these “mask” orders contradicts God’s law. For most Church members, having to wear a mask in order to meet together on the Sabbath is preferable to remaining at home. Right now, our adversary is stirring up strife and division in the world and in the Church! If we let THIS divide us, what will become of us when REAL persecution comes?

If you are attending services in an area where masks are required in public, then you must wear a mask unless you have a qualifying “medical exemption” as determined by government guidelines. There are reasons why some will not (or feel that they cannot) wear a mask, but do not have a qualifying medical exemption. It is recommended that those people stay at home and watch a webcast service. When coming to services with a mask, please do not wear masks with “statements” on them (the temptation to have a “Don’t Tread on Me” statement will not help to unify the congregation). Let’s keep the politics of all of this far away from church.

Also, please be extra-vigilant about NOT coming to services if you are sick. This should always be our “best practice.” Sometimes when we are sick, we may take a dose of medicine. Although the medicine may help us “feel” better, we’re still sick. We should always be considerate of others and stay home if we are sick, rather than expose others.

We know these are very frustrating times, but we will get through this. We appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Sincerely,
Len Martin, Chairman, Council of Elders
Victor Kubik, President

Comments

 
  • StephenK

    Dear Sirs,
    I write this from a place of concern. My wife has tried to comply with “must wear” mandates and always develops a migraine after about 30 minutes of use. She is healthy but has an underlying issue with asthsma. She desires to be with God’s people and self quarantines whenever she is sick. Your directive is detrimental to her spiritual NEED to be with God’s people. It also exceeds our state and local mandates which allow for no mask when social distancing is being observed, which we do here in Phoenix during services. We desire to comply with your leadership, but find it difficult to understand this.
    With respect and love,
    Stephen Kennedy

  • holladay1958

    Some of my friends wear face shields instead so its easier for them to breathe.

  • Rani

    Jackie, face shields are great but a secondary level of protection. They will only protect against large droplets, masks are still necessary. The virus can still infect through open areas under and around the the shield.

  • Irisrose

    It is the same in Wichita except we are not required to wear masks during services, because we are able to keep the social distance. We wear them when visiting. The mandate here allows for those with medical reasons to not wear them.

  • Victor Kubik

    There are variances to the mandates based upon state, type of meeting location and other factors.   Please check with your pastor about your area.  The issue is more about a divisive attitude that is not healthy.   I pray that we get through this face mask phase and move on. This is not the worst kind of trial that will befall us,  so let’s be patient and considerate of all. 

  • derrickrose73@gmail.com

    Thank You!!!

  • tubbs1286

    I’m with you 100% Stephen!! To say that people who have health concerns and can’t wear a mask shouldn’t attend services is cruel and UNGODLY. For many people, especially those who are older with health issues, services is the highlight of their week and their greatest joy is to see their brethren. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” - Hebrews 10:24-25.

  • Kelly Irvin

    My understanding (maybe wrong) in some situations, is that the mask mandate(s) are waived for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, meaning they can still be in mask mandated locations if they declare they are unable to wear a mask. I don’t know what requirements must be fulfilled for this; a doctor’s note or a statement alone? In Arkansas, we’ve recently been subjected to a mask mandate, but the governor has excluded worship services from this mandate.

    We have had no controversies in our local congregation related to masks and that is a blessing for sure. If we really want to obey God, unrelated to whatever man imposes that we must obey, let us make sure we stay home if we know we have a fever. That’s basic Biblical quarantine rules.

    In the U.S. we have the right to complain, but as Christians we must obey human authority as long as it does not cause disobedience to God. For instance, we are disobeying God if we obey human authority that does not allow us to assemble on the Sabbath. As Peter and John civilly disobeyed the Pharisees to obey Christ’s directive to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and Christ crucified, being willing to be beaten and imprisoned, the faithful today must be willing to disobey to participate in Sabbath assembly, a Holy Convocation, the Fourth Commandment.

  • Rani

    Thank you Mr. Kubik and Mr. Martin for the Church’s position on the current mask debate. I fully support your position. Covid 19 could have been greatly minimized if people were compliant with scientific research on how masks can protect us and others. Social distancing 6 feet does not always work, viral particles can travel a lot further. Asymptomatic people can be virus carriers, a mask can help reduce the spread of the virus as it will trap droplets when the wearer talks. Even WHO has finally acknowledged that more research is needed on possible airborne transmission of coronavirus. If I wear a mask to Church, I am protecting others but the non wearers are certainly not providing me with some protection from inhaling their possible virus particles. Till a definitive treatment or vaccine is found, there is not much in the tool box and no way will I be attending Church physically if people aren’t wearing masks. Some virus particles can definitely travel more than 6 feet under right conditions. Sure, masks are uncomfortable, I wear them for 8-12 hours at work. I protect others and vice versa. Even if one disagrees with benefits of wearing a mask, I can’t see why it’s so hard to put on a little double layer of cloth for a 2 hour Church service. It’s an abundance of caution and a Public Service. It will also buy Science time to catch up with the Virus. I am in deep gratitude for the rationale position that my Church has taken.

  • Mark Wildt

    When you accept these nefarious government mandates, the church itself becomes comprised. When you force social distancing, seating arrangements and mandatory masks, it becomes quite clear the church has adopted the secular position. No longer can people feel free to worship the way God commands, and in some cases makes it impossible. So it absolutely is in conflict with scripture and God’s law. In addition to several doctrinal stances, this decision to kowtow to the state has me quite concerned about the direction UCG is heading. Forcing these mandates is only causing further division, and is only serving to push others like myself away completely. The debate will always be there, but the second you take away people’s free will, you have now chosen a side and have ostracized everyone else. This is truly disturbing.

  • Mike Haynes

    Hello Mark,
    I will say that I am not completely sold on the scientific value of cloth mask in the combating the virus. Not sure I believe the numbers presented to be accurate. I also believe that there is an ongoing conspiracy by some to totally eliminate Christian worship services altogether ( something that will eventually come to fruition ). However, I have had no problem wearing a mask when circumstances warrant such. Being an essential worker I have been dealing with the public from the beginning of this situation and I carry a mask with me at all times. When in a situation where others are wearing mask I wear mine as well. In other situations I choose not to wear a mask. The bottom line in my reasoning is not to offend anyone if possible. I suggest reading Romans 14 for answers to how God would have us deal with this. I don’t think wearing a mask during services is contrary to way God commands worship. We are to worship in spirit and truth. In this case the spirit is a spirit of love and concern for others and the truth is , wearing a mask does not conflict with this. Not wearing one could very well conflict with love in these circumstances. As to your comment about free will, it is true that God has granted each of us free will. However we are encouraged to let the mind of Christ dominate our thinking ( Thy will, not mine, be done ).
    As for the Churches position in this matter…it seems to me that decisions are being made to bring congregations back together for worship services and they must consider what is best for the whole church, not individual members. I see no ” kowtowing ” to Government in these decisions. In the end, it is our faith and trust in God that will see us through this. Meanwhile we should follow Paul’s admonition in Romans 14…19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

  • derrickrose73@gmail.com

    This situation (Covid-19) could be detrimental to all of our spiritual needs if we neglect to first of all, address our Spiritual NEED to be in fellowship with God. Marian was OUTSIDE the camp of Israel for 7 days when she was leprous. A mask in church is for the benefit of all who are able to attend in person. Love does not harm one’s neighbor (Romans 13:10). We are blessed with telephones, computers, and many other ways to be incontact with one another in our society today. However, and mind that is set on the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8: 5-8). There is no problem that God can not see one through. Powerful prayers, get powerful results. The entire country, and the world at large is at risk at this point. Over 4 million have it, and some will never be the same again, though they have recovered. However, 148 thousand are dead. We should not want to contribute to the death, or poor well being of anyone - in, or out, of God’s church. Taking a break from the mask should be fine if no one else is put at risk. Aaron asked Moses to pray for their sister’s recovery. We should doing the same about each other. Your leadership on this matter has been just fine.
    However, when Aaron asked Moses to pray, it is evident that he was praying too (James 6: 13-18). We seek the rich blessing of God for ALL of His people!!

  • John B

    Why is this article worded differently than the letter sent out by pastors, specifically regarding face mask exemptions? This article implies that it’s OK to attend services without wearing a mask if you have a medical reason for doing so. However, the letter posted by the local pastor and signed by Len Martin and Victor Kubik does not state that exemption. I guess no mask, stay home, period.

  • plprice53

    To my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ,
    It is truly disappointing that something as simple as wearing a mask is dividing us. How in the world will we as God’s people endure persecution!!! I almost lost my husband in February to pneumonia, flu and a staph infection. This was before the COVID-19 testing was available. I had to wear a mask to get from getting sick but to keep others from getting sick as well. I also stayed away from church several weeks after he was released from the hospital to make sure that I was not a carrier and would not get anyone else sick. Is that not Brotherly Love? Wearing a mask for a short time while attending Sabbath service, is a tiny price to pay to continue to fellowship with MY brothers and sisters. If there are health issues that would prevent a person from wearing a mask, I totally understand that but please do not judge those of us who are obeying the mandated law in my state or the rules put in place by my Pastor.
    It is a blessing that we are able to have access to the internet and we can have virtual services. There are far worse things going on in this life than having to wear mask for a couple hours at services.
    If wearing a mask somehow affects your “spirituality” then maybe there’s something else going on. But that’s between you and God.
    United we Stand!!!

  • Rani

    Well said, Patricia. If health workers can wear medical masks for 8-12 hours ( much more uncomfortable) plus plastic kind of gowns/goggles fogging up then non medical should not be difficult to wear one for a 2 hour Church service. You may feel well and not show symptoms but still infect others. Your mask is protecting others in the congregation. A sneeze can release viral particles much further than 6 feet. Social distancing plus masks is the answer, it’s serving brethren and other s in the world. Please look at reliable medical data that we know so far. We will know much more in time to come, this Virus has many unknown properties at present.

  • derrickrose73@gmail.com

    Thank you Patricia. Some seem to have the stubborn ‘goat’ like mentality. They are blind to reality. They don’t really trust God’s ability to take care of this situation His way. “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17. And they really have a problem being deferrencial to the wellbeing of others. Pray that they might have their eyes opened “Spiritually” so they can see. When Jesus was preparing for His ministry, He separated Himself for 40 days and nights. There was no violation!!! But those who refuse to see can’t comprehend anything being so stated.

  • Rani

    I would like to add something. During the very initial phase of Covid-19 in March, the Church took the decision to close physical attendance of services. The hospitals were not mandating that health workers wear masks all the time. We were still learning and still are about transmission of Covid 19. Some medical staff did get infected and the Church played a huge role in keeping us safe by having virtual services. Health workers now wear masks all the time and the rate of infection amongst us is much lower, actually lower than the general population. Also, we are protecting our patients to the best of our ability. I am a front line health worker myself and I am imploring everyone who reads this to keep yourself and others safe by wearing a mask. Please research mask fabrics that will give you better protection, making sure it’s tight around the nose bridge and pulled well down past the chin. Use a small metal piece such as a pipe cleaner etc to have a good fit around the bridge. I am very certain that the mask etc. and God’s protection has stopped me from getting infected (so far). Ancient Israel had grumblers and looks like from some of the comments here that we have them too. You have nothing to lose by wearing a mask and much to gain. The news media is full of people who scoffed at wearing a mask, got infected and ended up seeking medical care. For the doubters of mask benefits, you have no idea of patient suffering due to this virus. I am not saying that masks are foolproof but sure go a long way to protect you and others. Honestly, it’s all in the mind. I am over 65 and manage the mask scenario with God’s strength. I enjoy the sweet air by my Creator at the end of my shift. Thank you Mr. Kubik for your leadership. How very fortunate I am for my calling and to be a member of UCG.