From the Archives: Stop Cancelling My Church!

December 9, 2007 | 23 comments
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Up at 6:20am, into the shower, on with the shirt and tie and jacket. Grap some Grape-Nuts in the kitchen. Open the front door: a half-inch or so of sleet on the ground. No biggie, I think. Normally I walk, but this morning I’m running late, so I hop in the car, drive to the chapel for PEC meeting. No one there. Drive around the chapel twice: still no one there. Cancelled for sleet?, I ask myself. Drive home, log on the computer, check the e-mail. Yep, sure enough: the stake presidency cancelled all meetings yesterday evening (we were supposed to have been called by someone, but obviously weren’t). Arrrg. Yes, yes, I know, I know: rural routes, dangerous road conditions, better safe than sorry, people without back-up transportation plans, etc., etc. It’s all perfectly reasonable. Except that now we have a whole day to fill. At least last time there was actually snow on the ground me and the girls could go out and play in. (That’s the link to the archived post, if you’re wondering.)

23 Responses to From the Archives: Stop Cancelling My Church!

  1. roland on December 9, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Ha, Ha – at least last night at 10PM I got a phone call about my meeting canceled this morning.

    My dad still grumbles about going last month to do his 5:30 Tuesday AM Temple session only to find out afterwards that the temple was closed for the week because of the San Diego Wildfires.

    At least he gave me the heads up that our youth baptism group for that evening would also be canceled.

    We also had to cancel our annual stake boy scout campout because of those darn wildfires. No makeup planned.

  2. Russell Arben Fox on December 9, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Bummer about the campout. We had a stake musical program planned for this evening that got cancelled as well (who knows–maybe the accumulation will be up to a whole inch by tonight!), and the new stake policy is “no reschedulings for cancellations.” I respect that policy in general–the calendar gets awful confused when the cancellations pile up and everyone starts fighting for makeup days–but this is something that happens only once a year, and some members work for weeks if not longer to get their performances into shape. A real disppointment.

  3. Y Stephenson on December 9, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    I knew a family back In the good old days when Mt. St. Helens erupted. They got in their car and drove through inches of volcanic ash to get to the church because, no matter what Mormons never cancel church, only too find that it had in fact been canceled. Ah for the good old days.

  4. Russell Arben Fox on December 9, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Do you remember where that family lived? We were living in Spokane, WA, where my father had grown up and my parents and a few siblings still live, on Sunday, May 18, 1980. The ash hadn’t begun to fall by the time our church meetings began (Spokane is over 300 miles from St. Helens) that afternoon, but it started coming down during sacrament meeting, and they sent us all home. It’s the only time I can remember church being cancelled for snow or ash or anything else the entire time I was growing up.

  5. Kevin Barney on December 9, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    I can’t remember the last time anyone cancelled church here in the Chicago area. I’m sure it has happened, but it is quite rare here.

    I wouldn’t complain about having a whole day to fill. To me, a Sunday without church is almost magical. Build a fire, read the paper and drink some hot cocoa for starters.

  6. Brandt on December 9, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    At least you got some wintery precipitation

    Here in Rexburg we still have absolutely no snow – and none in the 10 day forecast

    I would put up with the sleet to at least get SOMETHING

  7. Mark B. on December 9, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    I was in Chicago–Hyde Park–in the winters of the big snows (78 and 79). Two foot snowfalls, 30 mph winds, drifts three or four feet high, but I don’t remember a single Sunday when church was canceled.

  8. Ray on December 9, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Threadjack alert: Kevin Barney, Bishop Wyatt said to say hello to you. He was in a branch in our stake today to participate in the blessing of a grand-daughter.

  9. Lupita on December 9, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Huh, I was thrilled when they cancelled last week. Okay, technically they started two hours late, but I was really hoping for a cancellation. Driving on roads covered in ice and snow in the early morning makes my stomach churn.

  10. Y Stephenson on December 9, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    They lived somwhere in Washington. I can’t remember where.

  11. Sarah on December 9, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    As someone who grew up in Alaska, the time the branch in South Carolina canceled church because it *might* ice was blew my mind. (*Might* ice?!?) Until my roommate from S.C. revealed that she had never seen an ice scraper in her life. There was no way I wanted her driving on roads that might ice!

  12. Sarah on December 10, 2007 at 12:22 am

    Wow, another Sarah.

    As someone who grew up in California, I appreciate any and all “off” days on account of weather. Especially since after I left CA I was homeschooled, which meant we actually did more schoolwork on snowy days. And then I went to Ohio State, which is pretty much infamous for never canceling classes (I can think of one time in my undergraduate career… and they didn’t announce the cancellation until after my last class of the day started.) Also, the closest I’ve ever come to a winter car wreck was on the way to a church building (the snow pile stopped us inches away from the telephone pole.)

    So yay for cancellations. Though, umm, more yay for actually calling first. And what’s up with having to get up at 6am on your day of “rest”?

  13. Ardis Parshall on December 10, 2007 at 12:42 am

    I can’t remember the last time ward meetings were cancelled for weather anywhere I’ve lived (we met last year when the building furnace was out, and the front bench was piled with blankets for anybody to use if their coats weren’t enough), but I do remember when school was cancelled in Jackson Co., Missouri in the ’70s, when the temperature plus the humidity surpassed 150. Just about broke my heart, doncha know.

  14. Jonathan Green on December 10, 2007 at 3:54 am

    When I was a kid, sacrament meeting was dismissed early because of an earthquake. While we were in South Carolina, church was canceled twice for hurricanes. They were small hurricanes, the type that had already unloaded on Florida and which the locals didn’t take too seriously, so there was no evacuation. Still, friends of ours made it halfway to church before they heard the announcement on the radio that the city’s emergency vehicles had been recalled, because driving conditions were too unsafe for fire trucks and ambulances.

  15. TStevens on December 10, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Our church service was cancelled last week, so on Monday I sent a fake email from the Bishop to about a dozen or so members that said:
    Dear Ward Members,

    Due to church being cancelled yesterday because of the weather, the Stake President has informed me that we need to make that day up prior to the next General Conference in April. Thus I have decided to hold an extra Sacrament meeting on Saturday March 1, 2008. Please make yourself available to attend at the normal time. If we do not achieve 80% attendance for this meeting it will not count as a make-up day. Fortunately, we are not required to have Sunday School or Priesthood/Relief Society that day.

    Thank You for your continued support,

    Many phone calls and fun followed

  16. claire on December 10, 2007 at 10:26 am

    It was over 70 degrees and sunny in Atlanta this weekend, which seems like a great reason to cancel church to me, but no such luck.

    RAB, the only time in recent memory our services were cancelled was on the day our Christmas program was scheduled (we have a lot of grad. students in our ward so often our musical program is several weeks before Christmas when they are still in town). Cancelled for sleety roads-it was a big disappointment for those who had prepared all the selections.

  17. Ray on December 10, 2007 at 10:34 am

    “It was over 70 degrees and sunny in Atlanta this weekend, which seems like a great reason to cancel church to me, but no such luck.”

    How can I vote for “comment of the year” – or at least inclusion in the “best of” compilation?

  18. Geoff B on December 10, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Russell, down here in Miami, there were five hurricanes that blasted through in two years in 2004-2005. Some of them were very minor in their affects on Miami, but Church was still canceled. Probably a good idea overall.

  19. Frank McIntyre on December 10, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Russell,

    According to my parents (and the news), most of the area was covered in a half inch of ice.

    http://weather.kansas.com/US/KS/Wichita.html

    Maybe it wasn’t bad on your walkable drive to church, but you might be downplaying the problem a little.

  20. DHM on December 10, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Hurray for all those who dislike Church being cancelled. Attendance at Church should be enjoyed and desired.

  21. Steve Jones on December 10, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    In the winter of 1968 church was cancelled in Decatur, Alabama. It was the coldest spell in decades and the pipes in the church (which were in the ceilings) froze and broke so when they thawed the church was flooded the day before church.

    A couple of years ago here in California during our annual Sikh Parade, law enforcement came into our stake center and said that if we did not leave in the next few minutes the parade would preclude leaving for a couple of hours. We were 25 minutes from the end of the third hour. The Bishop sent word to each classroom and the entire ward was out of the building and parking lot in 5 minutes. I have never seen saints move so fast.

  22. nita on January 1, 2008 at 1:35 am

    #15: that is great!! About 3 years ago, several months after I’d moved into a new ward, church was cancelled due to what seemed to me to be minimal snow, ie just two or three inches. (this is in an eastern city, however, our ward boundries are on curvy roads).

    However, no one had told me so when I arrived at the church and saw no cars my thought was I didn’t get the memo! I went in the building where a couple men from another ward were meeting. They said they thought my ward had been cancelled.

    Then I went home and called our RS pres to see if church was going to be later in the afternoon instead. She was’t happy I hadn’t received a call. She ended up calling the Bishop, who called me later that afternoon and personally apologized and took full responsibility that I hadn’t received a phone call about the cancellation. He then assured me I’d be getting a home teacher, etc in the very near future. While I felt bad that my Bishop took that responsibility, I thought it was humble of him to call me.

    This past year when we had a couple cancellations, they asked both ht/vt’s to make the cancellation calls. Also they sent out a ward email.

  23. nita on January 1, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    #21 Steve wrote, “We were 25 minutes from the end of the third hour. The Bishop sent word to each classroom and the entire ward was out of the building and parking lot in 5 minutes. I have never seen saints move so fast. ”

    That is funny! I felt bad one time in a ward they were having us end church early, due to the start of snow. So the Bishop had sent word to end RS and leave within a few minutes. However, the messenger had to come back a second time to get us yappers out!

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