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Have You Been To Church Lately?
A Few Frank Words 12-27-23



I believe I have written on this issue before, but I assure you this is not a “rerun”. My definition of church is a house of worship where one or more are gathered in God’s name to sing praises and send prayers to the Almighty. It includes but is not limited to churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and general houses of worship. I am addressing believers, non-believers, agnostics, and atheists. In a word, this column is for everyone. If you know someone who doesn’t subscribe to our local newspaper (shame on that person) please feel free to pass this on to them.

Pew Research, a non-partisan, non-affiliated fact think tank. Let’s look at a couple of comments by this well-respected fact finder:


“The U.S. public seems to be growing less religious, at least by conventional measures. The percentage of American adults who identify as Christian has been declining each year, while the share who do not identify with any religion has been rising rapidly. (Members of non-Christian religions, such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, to name just a few, make up a smaller share of Americans.)”


“U.S. adults who have moved away from Christianity are younger, on average, than those who have remained Christian after a Christian upbringing. More than a quarter of former Christians (27 percent) are under 30, compared with 14 percent of all adults who were raised Christian and remain Christian. This age pattern aligns with a decades-long trend in which each cohort of young adults is less religiously affiliated than the preceding one.”


I like Pew Research; their statistical analysis is second to no other. However, in this case the statistics, while interesting, provide no useful information. If one does not bring together data with analysis to provide information, then the data is just data.

In this instance the real or useful question, based on the data would be “Why do you not go to church (synagogue, mosque, temple, etc.)?” Now we can do something about the answer. Casting aside “because” and “I just do not want to” as frivolous and childish answers, let’s look at a few real answers.

First, I do not go because of the pandemic. Well, that answer was good until May of 2023 when most states, including California, and the federal government declared the COVID-19 emergency over. With the COVID-19 emergency over you can now go back to church. Most houses of worship will welcome you back even if you continue to wear a mask for protection. If this is your reason, then you are simply out of the habit of attending worship. So, start attending and rebuild your habit.

Second, and quite popular with the parent set is the “my child/children participate/play in their favorite sport and there are games on Sunday mornings”. Really? Every Sunday 52 weeks out of the year? Why not worship on those days where the game is washed out or there is no game? If you bring the children along then there is even more of an incentive to attend worship.

The third is also very popular, “I do not like the Rector, Pastor, Elder or leader of the House of Worship because that person, has one or more characteristics such as poor sermons, lousy inter-personal skills, doesn’t call (very popular), won’t listen, bad manners, the way the worship service is structured, or any other personality clash.” As a result, this person stays home. Readers, if this is your reason then don’t you think your priorities are messed up? There is only one reason to attend a worship service and that is to worship the all-knowing and all-powerful supreme being I know as God. No one should stand in the way of that goal. Remember Pastors, Rectors, Imams, Rabbis are all fleeting while God is forever.

The final one goes something like this, “I don’t need a bunch of people to worship God with me”. The corollary is “Worship is between me and my God and no one else.” This one flies in the face of more scriptural passages than one can imagine. Clearly a person needs time to talk with their creator, that is missing the point. The pout is corporate worship. A time for the community to come together and worship their creator. God expects a multitude of voices joining together in supplication, adoration, repentance, and thanksgiving. God has declared us his chosen people. He sent his Son, our savior, that we might have life and in abundance. In most cases it takes about an hour or two out of our week to worship in a corporate setting. Each of us should have no higher priority than worship.


Francis (Frank) Remkiewicz is an area resident and contributes a monthly column focused primarily on faith and religion. He can be reached at Opinions expressed are those of the author.