This is a question I’ve been asked a number of times since we’ve returned to worship in the sanctuary. Initially we stopped passing the offering plates to be safe, reducing points of contact for germs to spread.
The reasons we are not doing it now are just as important. Passing an offering plate leads to a lot of assumptions; here are the two that are most common:
1. “All the church wants is your money.” Of all the criticisms the church has received over the years, this is one that never seems to go away.
2. There are a growing number of people who give electronically or only the Sundays following payday, which is sometimes only once a month. Thus for a visitor it looks like giving an offering isn’t important.
One of the things we lost by not passing the offering plates was a time for anthems; thus we now added “A Time of Reflection and Response.” This will be included during non-communion Sundays, providing the same opportunity we have on communion Sundays.
It is wonderful to listen to the music and pray without distraction. It is a time to fill out your welcome card including writing a prayer or note to the office on back, and prepare your offering. Offering plates are available at all three doorways to receive your welcome card and offering.
What are the things you enjoy most about the time of reflection? What do you miss about no longer having the offering plates passed?
“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’" – 1 Corinthians 9:7