Then and Now


Social distancing is all the rage these days – but how do you make certain people keep away from each other?

I didn’t think to take pictures at the church we attend, where these days you can only sit in places that don’t have big red and white Xs on them, made with some plastic tape similar to yellow and black caution tape.

At St. Cyriak church here in Sulzburg, they handled the problem differently: they took out most of the chairs. It gives the church a spacious feeling. When the building was first opened (more than a thousand years ago!) a clear space was the norm – no-one sat during church.

We are all learning things during this pandemic, about ourselves, about each other and about our societies. One thing you will notice from the “now” picture is that no more than two seats are grouped together.

What does that say about St. Cyriak as a place were families can come to worship during these turbulent times? Are children not welcome here? Or is the assumption that families with children will stay home rather than risk exposure to the coronavirus?

I don’t think that is the message they meant to send. When you are making changes on the fly, when the rules seem to change daily, it is so easy to not realize the impact of what you are doing.

Now that I think of it, I suppose it is theoretically possible that there are no families attending the church at this time.  Or maybe, given that you have to pre-register to attend church (to make sure there aren’t too many people for proper social distancing), maybe they change the seating around each week.

I wonder which it is.



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