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January 17, 2011 / Meg

Should Churches be Closed on MLK Day?

There are posts around the blogosphere today about whether or not churches should be closed on this federal holiday.

Personally, this is something I really haven’t thought about before.  I’m currently a theology student and not yet a full-time staff member of a church.  I can see the need for the church to be closed–pastors and staff members need self-care and time spent with family. Plus, almost everyone else has the day off!  On the other hand, ministry doesn’t stop on federal holidays.  This is especially true with regard to pastoral care and hospital/homebound visits.  But because MLK, Jr. Day is a federal holiday and observed on a Monday, which is usually a down day/Sabbath for most churches, I would think that a lot of churches would be closed anyway.  I have no scientific data to back that up, though.

On the other hand, as someone who volunteered for AmeriCorps for 2 years and actively coordinated community service projects and recruited volunteers for the MLK Day of Service, I would love to see our churches unite in service on this federal holiday.  I can think of no greater way to honor Dr. King than coming together to give back to the community and serve those in need.

Just my two cents.  What are your thoughts?

For further reading, check out these 2 posts from blogs I read (and thanks to the following bloggers for inspiring this post!):

Your Church Should Be Off On Martin Luther King Jr. Day | Big Is The New Small.



Leave a Comment
  1. Kyle Reed / Jan 18 2011 12:52 am

    Great thoughts, I am glad you weighed in on this subject.
    It is kind of crazy how this caught some momentum today in conversation. Until today I had never really given it much thought. So very interesting to see what people think and say.

  2. jenniferking173 / Jan 18 2011 1:15 am

    I personally don’t think a church should close on a holiday. God doesn’t take a day off, does he? What if a member was in crisis and there was no one there to answer the phone? I do agree that everyone needs time off, but those that minister to our spiritual needs are a unique group. Perhaps taking the day off but being “on call” in case someone needs them? It is a tough decision to make.

    • Meg / Jan 18 2011 5:43 pm

      Good point. It may actually be a day where a lot of people would want to pray in the sanctuary or talk to someone on staff. And especially with regard to a crisis situation, there needs to be someone available.

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