Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snow day #1

It's the first snow day of the year. I was up last night watching the internet, checking three different predictors, all of which agreed there would be snow. I dreamed ALL NIGHT about snow and snowplows and that Martin invited over all his friends who went out for a snowball fight after I declared a snow day- in the dream, just declaring a snow day made more snow fall.

Meanwhile, here in real life...

When I woke, snow was still falling here in West Hartford. Nothing is yet plowed, though there is just an inch. It is, however, an icy inch. And there's more snow predicted with ice-forming temperatures and severe wind.

The median age of parishoners at Epiphany is north of 50, with a number of pretty creaky ladies and gentlemen. Most of whom I would have called ANYWAY to ask that they not come. That would leave me with about 7 able-bodied persons who are fully capable in eyesight, body, and/or condition of their car.

So we decided to cancel. This was me on the phone with my Senior Warden, who has eyes on the ground in Southbury. So I chose to trust her assessment of the ground conditions while we parsed out the condition of the congregation.

Now it's a matter of calling the service participants, the snow day closings people on TV, the organist, the other warden... and I'm in AGONY! Will people be upset? Are they mad? Did I make the right choice? Is it better to safeguard your congregation and hope they are going to be okay in the bad weather, or are you better off going in and holding services come heck and high weather? If I were next door, I'd be open (but still officially closed). I'm quite worried, being 30 miles away- is it RIGHT TO CLOSE, or am I BEING A WIMP?

Augh! The stress!


The Vagabond Priest said...

And maybe it's a bad thing to encourage your people to stay in on a bad weather day, but knowing how many of them have bald tires, live on steep hills, or have vision problems, health problems, balance problems, etc... I can't ask them to take the risk of their health...

Anonymous said...

ah; to be, or not to be?

in my humblest of opinions; 'tis better to make a choice and stick with it, than to , well, uh - make no call I guess. either way, I'm good with whatever choice was made. I do set my week's activities around 10am epiphany sunday; however I am quite in touch with the greater good of the whole, and not my personal needs(being, methinks, one of the "7" able bodies who can navigate in "troubled" weather(being just a hair under the "50" mark myself); and besides, as I've heard someone quote Abe Lincoln : "I've found the majority of the people are a s happy as they allow themselves to be"...keep up the good the work, Pastor Betsy; I'm in your corner!

Kimberly said...

It's hard enough to decide when you live near the parish.

I live in central Scotland where snow is rare. But the one big snow day we had as a curate was the day I was preaching for a vacancy and a church a few miles away. 'No problem', thought I, 'I'm from New England'. But my neigbours were from Pakistan, and they had parked so close to my car that there was no way at all to move it from amidst the snow.

So, I walked. Lovely crisp dry snow, and only me and a few people out with their dogs. Three miles in the snow meant there was no way I'd get there for the 8am, and the one person who's phone number I had wasn't answering.

By the time I got there (half way between the two services) the 8am folks were having coffee, and willing to stay on for the next service. 8 people came, all over 70, all trudging through the snow on unploughed road.

It was one of those moments where I thought 'so this is what a priest does' (and hoped I would never have to do it again.)