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Reform Magazine | September 19, 2021

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Commitment-Phobe: Mask anxiety

Commitment-Phobe: Mask anxiety

Church is giving me mask anxiety

The weekend after ‘Freedom Day’ removed Covid regulations in England and Wales, I was due to lead worship. On the Tuesday, I asked our vicar how we would be doing things now. He said no masks would be worn except in the queue for communion, that communion would still be without wine, and that we could all sing again.

I paused to take this in. We could sing again, what joy! But without masks. I gave my knee jerk reaction: I was glad that we could all sing again, but didn’t feel comfortable about standing at the front with the entire congregation singing all over me. Then I questioned my fear. I am double vaccinated, I am not in a high-risk group, I should have nothing much to worry about. He said we would be meeting with the churchwardens about whether to continue with masks or not.

I talked about it with friends (over the phone), and the consensus was that even if the danger proved to be unfounded, I would make myself miserable by trying to brush away my anxiety. I decided to avoid leading worship or attending the service if the need of the congregation to be free of masks was placed above my need to be safe.

I looked at the Church of England guidelines and they were similar to the government’s. There is a page outlining the science and listing activities that are considered high risk, but each church should do as it sees fit. I did not envy my vicar, the PCC or the churchwardens having to make these choices…

Commitment-Phobe is a Christian

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This is an extract from an article published in the September 2021 edition of Reform

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