Champion Presbyterian Church

 “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.” Romans 16:16
   During every Sunday morning worship service before the pandemic, we had a Friendship Time to greet and welcome each other. A church in the Pacific Northwest had the same custom. However, they were exuberant and enthusiastic. They would leave their pews to embrace one another. Newcomers were warmly welcomed with a kind word, a handshake, or a hug.
   No one in that congregation thought much about their weekly ritual until their pastor received a letter from a man who recently joined their congregation. He was a lawyer from a prestigious law firm. In his letter, he said: "I am writing to complain about the congregational ritual known as ’passing the peace.’ I disagree with it, both personally and professionally, and I am prepared to take legal action to cause this practice to cease."
   When the pastor talked with the lawyer, the pastor asked why the man was so disturbed. The lawyer said, "The passing of the peace is an invasion of my privacy." The pastor’s response to this man was right on target. He said, "Like it or not, when you joined the church, you gave up some of your privacy, for we believe in a risen Lord who calls his disciples together to form one body, one family, God’s family.”
   Before the pandemic, no one in our congregation thought much about our weekly ritual of the friendship time either. Yet out of our concern for people’s health during the spread of Covid19, the Session suspended our friendship time to respect peoples’ privacy and protect their health. However, since the greatest threat of the pandemic is over, the Session decided to reinstate our Friendship Time. So, on Sunday, May 1st, we will no longer wave to one another, but you can get up and greet each other like before.
    However, if anyone does still have concerns about shaking hands, then simply extend your arm for a fist bump and your loving brothers and sisters in Christ will certainly respect your privacy and give you a fist bump in return.
    (And thankfully, we don’t have any lawyers in the congregation so there shouldn’t be any problems.)
    In Christ’s love, Pastor Steve