Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pastoral Questions: Who's responsible for this weather?

Having survived the Polar Vortex and now looking down the barrel of another frigid blast, my mind wandered to the pastoral question of when is the weather just too awful for services to be held.

Some priests will walk over from the rectory and hold services for whoever braves the weather and others are very cognizant of icy roads and walkways and will cancel services if things look too dangerous. What are your thoughts on this? Is the priest responsible for his congregation's safety knowing that some elderly people will get on the roads "hell or high water" if they know there is going to be a Sunday Divine Liturgy? Is it his duty to hold services over and above any inclement conditions that might be happening outside?

Your thoughts, please.


  1. At the beginning of "snow season" I told my congregation two things:

    -I will not cancel Sunday Liturgy.

    -God gave you "common sense" so use it. If the roads are bad, and/or if you don't drive in the snow, stay home.

  2. If the priest lives next to the Church, this sounds like very good advice.

    However, I once had a priest who said he would "never" cancel Sunday Liturgy due to weather. So, when the city was shut down by a huge snow storm, I walked the eight miles to the Church so that he would not be by himself, only to find it locked up tight.

    I would have preferred that the priest, who obviously could not walk the much greater distance between his house and the Church (probably 25 or so miles), had been realistic and said, "if the city is shut down by a storm, lights some candles, burn some incense, and pray at home." It would have saved me 16 miles of walking through knee deep snow and single digit temperatures.

  3. Surely a priest may justly and in good conscious command people not to endanger their lives?