Skip to comments.Pastor defends decision to close church on Christmas
Posted on 12/11/2005 8:58:32 PM PST by Pikamax
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The senior minister at central Kentucky's largest church defended a decision to not offer services there on Christmas Sunday and responded to mounting criticism.
The Rev. Jon Weese praised the decision of elders at Southland Christian Church during a service Saturday and said they "chose to value families. People over policy."
Weese has heard from hundreds of Christians across the nation protesting the closure, Southland officials said. Preaching before a crowd of about 1,150, Weece said the full story hasn't been heard.
"I was deeply saddened by the knee-jerk response of the Christian community as a whole to give the benefit of the doubt to the media and not a church or a Christian brother. I'm still troubled that more Christians did not stand up for us," said Weece. "Can you see or begin to see that the devil is stirring the pot on this?"
The backlash came after the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Southland and other megachurches in Illinois, Michigan, Georgia and Texas would not hold worship services on Dec. 25.
Standing on a stage decorated with 15 artificial Christmas trees, Weece downplayed the significance of the day.
"Christmas began as a pagan holiday to the Roman gods, and if we were to really celebrate the historical birth of Jesus, it would either be in early January or mid-April," Weece said. "I'm only pointing out the historical technicalities not out of intellectual arrogance, but again because of the illogical, ill-informed and even hypocritical arguments that were aimed at me this past week."
Weece also said that the church technically would be worshipping every Sunday in December.
Referring to Christianity's Jewish roots, he said that Sunday begins at sundown on Saturday according to biblical tradition.
Weece noted that Jesus also was criticized for breaking tradition. "There were some whose zeal even in the days of Jesus was misguided," he said. "They emphasized religion over relationship."
Worshippers applauded Weece several times during the service and gave him a standing ovation at one point.
"It's absolutely appalling that he and this church have been treated this way," church receptionist Olivia Byrne said after the service.
"Can you see or begin to see that the devil is stirring the pot on this?"
Alot of people have a lot of time, to complain about a lot things that don't directly impact them personally.
Translation: I'm a lazy, money-grubbing fraud who doesn't hesitate to spout heresy when threatened.
I have no opinion as to this decision. If that's what the congregation wants to do, so be it.
There is nothing magical or righteous by celebrating the birth of our Savior with one's buttocks warming a pew.
Can you imagine.... Having Jesus having a birthday party and the "church" is not coming!
The statements the pastor makes in this article posted don't make sense.
If they are cancelling church on December 25th, how can they be having church every sunday?
If he believes his argument about December 25th not even being a "real" christian holiday, why would he cancel the bible-mandated "coming together" on a sunday in order for his families to celebrate the pagan holiday?
And if he really is against the secularization of christianity, why would have have 15 artificial christmas trees at a place of honor in his sanctuary?
There are people who feel compelled to worship God at HIS time and place of choosing. The Christian church should provide a place for the flock to do so each Sunday.
When my church did weekend retreats, they always sent an elder back for Sunday service at the church, so those who didn't go on the retreat could have a worship service.
I don't know of a single conservative church in my area which is cancelling worship service because of christmas. My church will be meeting, my parent's church will be meeting.
I wouldn't expect my church to cancel because some people won't be there.
I guess that is what I really don't understand -- are they afraid that if they have a service, their flock will be "compelled" to attend, and will somehow neglect their family gatherings? Can't people just work their plans around the service, and invite their extended family?
This sound much like the decision of a "modern" church trying more to appeal to today's culture, and be "relevant" for its members, than a church trying to be true to scripture.
Yea, attending church is now "policy"
Christmas is a nice little tradition, and I love it, but it's not biblical. Jesus asked that he be remembered by the Lord's supper, not a pagan holiday.
The very best Christmas sermon I ever heard, was on one of those Christmas days, that happen to fall on Sunday...
I got to church early, to practice, as I was the organ player...the church janitor always was there before me, getting the heat turned up, and comfy for Sunday School and Church...but I noticed on this particular Sunday Christmas morn, it was amazingly cold in the church, and the janitor lamented to me, that the furnace had gone KAPUT....now this was in Chicago, so you know it was just really cold in the church....
Yet Sunday School went on, with everyone remaining in their hats and coats and mittens and boots...
And when time for church came, our Pastor, apologize to the congregation for the cold, and explained that the church would be needing a new furnace..everyone, clad in their outerwear for warmth, smiled...
I, ,myself was frozen, at least my feet were...because I always played the foot pedals of the organ with my shoes off, always needing to feel those pedals...
When it was time for the sermon, our Pastor, decided not to preach the sermon he had prepared, but rather decided to give a completely different sermon, related to the cold we were all feeling...He asked us to just imagine that cold,(we did not have to imagine) and being a mom, about to deliver a baby in the out of doors, and imagine the moms concerns over her new baby in the cold...being that we were all so cold, his sermon just had so much more meaning...
It may have been freezing in that church according to the thermometer, but the warm fellowship, that we all felt that day, and the warmth of Gods love for us, in sending His Son, made all of us forget the cold...
This is a pastor saying this? Wow, to paint all these Christians who disagree with his actions to close church on Christmas, because it is on a Sunday, as being a part of the devil's work? That is so wrong! You have genuine Christians out there who believe that closing the church is wrong. I, for one, am with those who oppose this pastor's decision to close his church, because Christmas happens to fall on a Sunday.
"Christmas began as a pagan holiday to the Roman gods, and if we were to really celebrate the historical birth of Jesus, it would either be in early January or mid-April," Weece said.
Giving the opponents of Christmas more fuel to oppose the Christmas season.
Sorry, I am not buying into this statement, as a valid reason for canceling church, just because it happens to be Sunday, and the Christmas holiday falls on the same day.
Our church is not planning to have its usual three services on Christmas morning, and some of us protested. This morning the pastor addressed the subject. He said that holding a service requires the assistance of about a hundred volunteers--people to run the child-care ministry and Sunday School, people to serve as ushers and musicians, folks to handle the horrendous parking and traffic-flow issues, to control the lights and sound and electronics, to drive the buses to and from distant pickup places, to clean up after the services, to provide security in the face of recent threats. In addition, they have to pay a lot of overtime to the local cops who try to manage the traffic nightmare the thousands of churchgoers create on local roads each weekend. He said it just wasn't possible to round up this volunteer staff on Christmas morning when people wanted to be with their children and could not be constrained to appear as paid employees could be.
Do I buy his argument? Well, in fifteen years I've never found this man to engage in untruths or half-truths. If he says there are serious logistical problems with managing a Christmas Sunday service, he knows more about running a big church than I do.
It's not the celebration of Christmas that's at issue. It's the celebration of the Lord's day which happens to fall on Christmas. They let the holiday mean more than the Lord's day, and THAT is what has caused the fuss.
Can you back that up with facts?
A pastor here in Colorado Springs has cancelled church services on Christmas Day because he has tickets for the Broncos' game. BTW - he hasn't told his congregation the real reason.
My church is maybe 120 people on a good sunday. We need the guy who leads our songs, one of the two sound people (me or my replacement), and the pastor. I guess we need a parent to volunteer to sit in the nursery as well. Then we would need sunday school teachers if we didn't cancel sunday school.
If they were consolidating services and cancelling sunday school and other ancillary activities, I wouldn't comment.
Of course, since I don't go to a megachurch, I guess I don't appreciate the effort that goes into having a worship service. We've come a long way from the time everybody just showed up at the house and Paul led them in a multi-hour sermon.
"Can you back that up with facts?"
His words are out there for everybody to see. If you don't like my opinion, form your own.
I disagree FRiend, even though technically you are correct.
It IS about Christmas; traditionally a day of family as well as religious celebration.
If 50% of your congregation is at Grandma's house out of town, and 90% of a Megachurch's staff is likewise engaged, and the congregation doesn't mind; what is the harm?
Worship does not require a "church" service. Scripture is about equally split on the issue.