Thursday, April 16, 2009

Church people

So I went off to church on Easter Sunday as the good little priest's kid that I am. Admittedly I was exhausted, having sat up until late the night/morning before playing board games and watching DVDs before collapsing on a couch so I probably wasn't in the best mood.

Anyway i got there and the place was PACKED! We usually have 100 - 150 people in there and being Anglicans that avoid sitting anywhere near the front we manage to fit inside quite comfortably without having to make eye contact with any strangers.

So I found a spot at last and settled in, feeling a bit queasy from lack of air, but otherwise OK, and then I looked up to see that a really old couple with walking sticks had arrived and there was nowhere for them to sit. Everyone who noticed them either stared straight ahead, or focused on the pew leaflet or something, in the understanding that until you make eye contact it is not your problem and someone else would help them. I got up and gave them my place, much to the chagrin of the person next to me who had to (shock! horror!) move up a little bit and after much hunting I found another seat.

Ten minutes later the same thing happened and everyone ignored the new old people AGAIN! After about 15 minutes into the service I was feeling really sick from the church being super-stuffy and i found that I was far more comfortable sitting on the floor in the corner behind the bell tower and so I spent half the service there before the sides-man decided that it looked bad and was actually very kind and brought me a stool to sit on.

It really bothers me that people go to church and get all dressed up and the whole shebang, and they sit with their prayer books and hymnals and sing loudly about how awesome God is and how we must love everyone, and then they treat the people in their midst like that. It would have taken five seconds for a row of people to shift closer together and make a space for a newcomer, but heaven forbid we sit next to a stranger!


Candice said...

The avoidance of the front 6 rows is such a weird phenomenon - and clearly non-denominational, since everyone at my shul does it too (even when it's packed for Rosh Hashana, and they've brought in 200 extra chairs at the back, people still leave the first few rows open. Who are they waiting for?)!