I have resided in Hong Kong for a few years and have learned first hand what it
is like for church members in this part of the world. I attend a branch in the
Wanchai Chapel. It is a magnificent structure, complete with 3 chapels, stake
and district offices, area offices, and living quarters for the area presidency,
stacked on top of each other on 13 floors. Regarding the Sunday
temple sessions, the First Presidency gave authorization this past March to have
the temple open one Sunday each quarter of the year. On the designated day, 4
Filipino branches combine for block meetings. It is difficult if not
impossible for the domestic helpers to get time off from work. Many are required
to work 6 days a week and the employer often assigns the day off. Even some
members attending meetings on Sunday only get every other Sunday off.
The idea of having church services every day - everywhere sounds tempting to be
sure, however, as I see it, there is a tremendous difference between the
situation in China or even the Middle East with regards to the burdens placed
upon the members. Granted, there are exceptions to everything, but
I suspect that a great many people would see such a thing here in the States as
a means to not have to choose between Sunday recreation; including the Super
Bowl and church services. Some have to work on Sundays, and there are also
several who choose to work Sundays because they are offered bonuses and other
incentives to do so. Again, I realize there are exceptions, but I suspect more
people simply choose not to have time for Sunday worship than who have
absolutely no other alternative.I seriously doubt that many of us
have the discipline to reverence the Sabbath on which ever day it was situated.
It would no longer be a holy day, but would soon degrade into just another day
where we had to give up a few hours of our precious time for church.
Though many employers require work on Sundays here in the U.S., most can allow a
Sunday off at least on a monthly basis.To widely give an optional
service on another time or day would drastically change the current geographical
structure of the ward.
Sunday work requirement is common especially in tourist areas such as Orlando,
Honolulu, etc. With mouths to feed these workers can't be picky when they
work. Often these folks are more dedicated to attend on their day off than many
affluent who prefer to golf or fish on Sunday.
I went to a fast food establishment today. At the counter they advertised the
need for workers. However, the sign stated in bold and underlined that the
availability to work on Sundays was mandatory. As was also being available at
any other time the establishment is open during the weekend or on holidays, but
this part was not in bold or underlined.
Local mission and stake leaders can make similar decisions if they feel a need
to conduct meetngs at irregular times. However in m experience even those who
cannot attend every Sunday generally can attend some Sundays. I have a
brother-in-law who has to work almost every Sunday, but he is able to have his
schedule such that he works later than when his ward meets.
There is one God so shouldn't the rules be the same everywhere? The only
way you can say 'no' is if you don't think the rule is important.
If the rule (that Sundy is the Sabbath and therefore church should be held on
Sunday) is not important, then meetings should be held on all days everywhere.
This is not new. The Copperton Ward held Sunday evening Priesthood meeting with
sacrament 60 years ago for KCC workers.
I enjoy hearing these stories. I think the LDS Church should find more ways to
make Church meetings more accessible for all.
It is not only those who work in and from third world countries who must work on
Sunday. On your way to and from your Sunday Services look at the number of
businesses which are open. They range from drug stores, to grocery stores, to
gas stations, diners, fine dining, and fast food. Many of their employees are
holding their first job and are given weekend assignments. They often have the
choice of working Sunday or not working. Then do not forget the hospital staff,
firefighters and police.I the United States, many work on Sunday.
I used to travel to Hong Kong and mainland China for my work, and I would attend
services as often as possible. The first time I attended, I found the building
without difficulty, but it was a high rise structure with meeting spaces on
several floors. When the elevator door opened, the room was deserted. Luckily a
sister told me sacrament meeting was on the next floor up. When the doors opened
this time, the entire room was filled with sisters. I thought I had walked in on
relief society and was backing up into the elevator, when the elders poked their
head around the corner and invited me in. Sure enough, it was sacrament meeting,
but there were a grand total of four males in the whole branch. Two elders, a
senior couple, and one male who was married to a Chinese national and lived in
Hong Kong. All these sisters were converts who were employed as domestic help
and were attending the English speaking branch to learn English. What a great
and uplifting experience it was.
How about simply having a dependent branch in every Utah (or US) stake or
region, that has a 2 (or 3) hour block meeting every Sunday evening to
accommodate those who have to work on Sundays for whatever reason. In working to activate less-active church members for many years in a variety
of callings and capacities, I would say that this simple offering would reduce
the prevalence of less active families (and perhaps more importantly, the
inter-generational repercussions of same) by 30% to 50%.
Moracle - Its an interesting idea. However, I can't imagine it ever really
happening in other areas. It certainly isn't just medical and
transportation employees that work on Sundays. Every profession has people that
work on Sundays during the day. And we could never just pick one
other day so pretty soon you'd have people everywhere asking for 7 day a
week services. Can you imagine that nightmare of logistics and unnecessary work
on the local church leaders?
I've often wondered if similar accommodations could be made in the U.S. for
those areas where many are in the medical and transportation fields of
employment, or other fields that require 24 hour, 7 days per week staff. These
positions require Sunday employment, and those without seniority enough to get
Sundays off are left with no Church worship services to attend, even though they
would like to very much.
That has got to be a cool mission. I hope they (the missionaries, you guys are
cool! :D) have fun with it!
LDS Church services in Egypt and Israel are held on Friday and Saturday. We
adapt to local custom for the Sabbath.
A few years ago when I was travelling in Ghana, I encountered a similar
situation when I met a young woman walking along a road on a Thursday and asked
where she was going. She told me she was on her way to church because it was
their worship day. She said that each village had their own festival/worship
day when everyone got together and worshipped and had a village market day
instead of working.
Church services seven days a week?! Wow. That would be awfully convenient to
have here, although the Lord still commands is to make Sunday our day of rest.
Unfortunately people from Third World don't always have the privilege of
being able to keep that commandment as strictly as those of us in the U.S. can.
Still, it is good for them to at least try to attend once a week, if not
consistently on the same day.