Flu season is changing the way church fellowship is happening on Sunday as some churches drop shaking hands and hugging.
Some churches may seem a bit less hospitable these days as congregants ditch familiar customs like shaking hands or giving big hugs.
The reason? Fear of the flu.
Shaking hands is a nice way to greet someone, but it’s also a great way to spread dangerous germs.
That’s why a number of congregations are warning against it during the current flu season, according to Pennsylvania’s LancasterOnline reports.
The more annoying (but healthier) rituals of fist bumps and elbow bumps seem to be gaining in popularity to keep illness away.
When it comes to communion, some churches were already ahead of that curve, substituting one large goblet that everyone would drink from with small plastic cups that are single serve.
But that one-on-one physical contact, some churches say, needs to change a bit — at least while the worst of flu season is still hanging on.
Technology is helping people who have to stay home because of illness still feel connected in church. Many churches now stream their services live on their websites, allowing people to tune in at their computer in the comfort of their own home.
Some churchgoers — particularly those of the more traditional mindset — say those people are sacrificing “fellowship” for convenience. There are probably fewer making that accusation at the moment, although I suggest that if you just give them time, they’ll start that kind of dispute up again as soon as it’s convenient.
But as we worry about random shooting incidents and now the flu, watching from home might be a better, and certainly a safer alternative.
For me, the kind of church services I tend to prefer — at least the kind I sometimes think I prefer — is the more contemporary variety. But today’s contemporary churches, it seems are more about a rock concert with blinding lights and deafening music. There’s little time, it seems, for any real one-on-one interaction.
The little bit of actual fellowship that’s offered is at one point in between songs right before they pass the collection plate and someone on stage instructs the congregants to shake hands with the people around them.
Sadly, some contemporary churches (and I imagine some traditional churches as well) offer no more actual fellowship or one-on-one contact than that handshake.
I can’t imagine an elbow bump would feel any more like genuine fellowship.
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.