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Blizzards and Bibles: How does your church cope with snow? (Updated)


(Update: Please take our new poll on christianchronicle.org about snow and church services. Scroll down to the lower, left-hand corner of the page.)

The meeting place of the Northwest Church of Christ in Chicago is coated with snow after the third-worst blizzard in the city’s history dumped more than 20 inches on Feb. 1. “We canceled Bible study the next day, but were back to normal by Sunday,” minister Patrick Odum said. (Photo by Patrick Odum)

(See a feature on the Northwest church — and a photo of what it looks like without snow.)
From the Rockies to the Smokies, church members find themselves buried in record-breaking amounts of snow.
Many of us just digging out from a Feb. 1 blizzard likely will endure six to 12 inches of additional frozen precipitation in the next 24 hours, according to weather.com. Massive piles of snow line the sides of many church buildings, and icy parking lots have become hazardous for the elderly (and a lot of us who don’t have much experience walking in this stuff).
How is your church coping with the snow? Have you canceled or moved services?

The front yard of the Sikes family in Oklahoma City. At left is a sign for the Memorial Road Church of Christ. (Photo by Dan Sikes)

Here in central Oklahoma, several Churches of Christ moved their Feb. 6 worship services to mid-afternoon. (When I mentioned this on my Facebook status, my old college roommate couldn’t help but poke fun. His exact words: “They moved services because of snow? Laughing HARD up here in Michigan!”)
So, with that in mind, we want to hear from church members in Michigan, Minnesota, the Dakotas and Canada (and even my ancestral homeland — Norway).
Please tell us — your snowbound brothers and sisters in the South — how you deal with winter weather each year. How bad does it have to get before you cancel church services? Give us some tips.
For those of you trapped inside your homes with your kids, what sort of faith-affirming activities can you recommend for snow days? What have you tried? What worked, and what didn’t?
Finally, we would love to see your pictures — including shots of church buildings blanketed in snow. Please e-mail them to me with a brief description. If we get enough, we will put together an online gallery.

  • Feedback
    Our snow this year has been measured in feet, not inches. So much so, that we’ve even been shoveling our roofs in this area, not just our drives. That said, we’ve not had to cancel any services, but have had small groups that couldn’t meet because of evening storms during a couple weeks in January.
    For us, it’s not just the presence of snow that makes the decision, but the road conditions (especially since we’re a very hilly town). It usually takes at least a foot before anyone starts asking if we’ll cancel. We’ve been fortunate not to have had much ice, which is the far greater hazard.
    James
    February, 8 2011

    Well, I’ve rarely seen a service canceled due to snow. Ice maybe, but not snow. How do we handle it? We wait for them to plow the roads and we drive in it. Living in Maine, we are much more equipped when snow does fall, parking lots are plowed, sanded and salted. The sand (or kitty litter works) can be spread on the ice to give you some traction in walking over ice. Of course, salt melts the ice as well…and table salt just doesn’t do, rock salt is what you need. Each year we get many feet of snow falling and we just either stay in if it’s bad, or normally are out like any other day.
    If we are stranded at home, it’s worship time with the family!
    Shelly
    February, 8 2011

    I <a href=”https://www.christianchronicle.org/article2159034~Snowed_in,_members_connect_to_” rel=”nofollow”>wrote a piece last year</a> on some members connecting to ‘online church’ during snowy weather.
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    February, 8 2011

    My previous comment appears to have disappeared, but basically, we’re in the same boat as Shelley. We’ve had to cancel a small-group meeting or two because of evening snow storms, but Sundays have been no problem. We don’t usually have too big a problem in upstate NY unless we get over a foot through the night (the problem is how hilly our roads are), or unless there is ice, which is far more treacherous than snow. We’ve had no ice storms this year, but have had snow measured in feet, not inches.
    James
    February, 8 2011

    We only cancel here when the weather is dangerous – icy or snow-packed roads, high winds, etc. Of course, it doesn’t get this cold very often in Texas. When I preached in Kansas, we usually had services unless we couldn’t get out. I do remember one period over the Christmas holidays where we canceled several services because we were still digging out or the snow was still coming down.
    Jay Kelley
    February, 9 2011

    In Abilene, Texas, we rarely have snow days for schools and never for church EXCEPT this year. The combination of rain, low temperature, wind, and snow shut down anywhere where folks, particularly young ones and elderly ones, usually go. The churches closed two Wednesday nights and schools, nursery through university, closed 4 continuous days. We have been in Abilene many years, 50 or so, and we had never been at home so many days because of the wintry weather.
    Erma J Loveland
    February, 11 2011

    In Fort Worth,Texas we rarely have much ice and snow. Our problem is that many of us do not know how to drive in this kind of weather so we stay home. My church had to shut down 1 or 2 days because no one could drive on the parking lot. It was complete ice. But that was last week or so and it has been beautiful today.
    Patsy Walker
    February, 12 2011

    In East Peoria, IL we received 15 inches of snow over Monday night and Tuesday with wind gusts to 50 MPH. Our property is on a hilltop and slopes away from the street. We canceled all activities on Tuesday and Wednesday. By Sunday we were plowed out and able to assemble as normal. The local TV stations broadcast the school, church, etc. closings using a crawl at the bottom of the screen. There were so many closings that it took about 15 minutes to make one complete cycle. Most schools were out Tuesday through Friday.
    Roy Campbell
    February, 12 2011

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