Zelophehad’s Daughters

Random Poll: The Ideal Starting Time for Church

Posted by ZD

What do you think is the ideal starting time for church?
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22 Responses to “Random Poll: The Ideal Starting Time for Church”

  1. 1.

    Generally speaking, I like 10:00. Not too early, but not so late that it eats up the middle of your day.

    I really dislike having church in the afternoon. I think the worst time slot I ever experienced was 3:30 to 6:30, which we had for a while when I was a kid and there were too many wards in the building. I remember getting out of church and it being dark outside and thinking how odd that was.

  2. 2.

    I like 10:00 AM for the same reasons Lynnette does. The least favorite time I’ve experienced is 1:30-4:30. I felt like I had no chance to rest because by the time I got home from church, it was dinner time.

    Now my ward meets at 9:30, and I love it. I get home at lunch time and have the whole rest of the day to rest, study my scriptures, meditate, visit my family, etc. Sunday actually feels like a holy day again.

  3. 3.

    I’m more concerned with the length of church– three hours is just too long, at least with the current quality of the meetings. But I think that 11 is the worst– three hours over lunch, and then nap time for little kids. I’m old enough to remember pre-block times– for my ward, SM was at 7:30 PM and was supposed to last till nine. We used to play tag and hide and seek outside in the dark while we waited for the adults. I’d probably hate it as an adult, but for us the evening time seemed great.

  4. 4.

    I actually love 11. That usually means if you have any other meetings on Sunday they can be accomplished before church (ward council or presidency meetings) and still not have it be too difficult for families trying to get kids ready. You’re still home by 2, plenty of afternoon and evening left. I’ve never had to go later than the 1-4 schedule, but a friend of mine currently attends a 4-7 schedule and absolutely hates it, I imagine I would as well.

  5. 5.

    I agree with Lynnette and Keri: 10 AM is great. I served a mission in the US where there were a fair number of members, so most church buildings were shared, but in the two branches I served in that had their own buildings, the meeting time was 10 AM.

    My ward currently shares a building with one other family ward and a singles ward that always takes the latest meeting time. (I don’t know if they asked for it or were pushed into it.) Anyway, the two family wards have always flip-flopped every year between 9-12 and 11:30-2:30. I’ve always preferred 9-12, but found that it was a little too early. This year, my inspired bishop asked why we couldn’t meet 9:30-12:30 in years when we have the earlier time slot, and just that half hour change toward the Celestial meeting time of 10 has made a world of difference in how easy it is for my family to get to church on time. Of course, I guess that was probably at least part of my bishop’s motivation–to bump up sacrament meeting attendance, since if you get there too late you don’t get counted.

  6. 6.

    I think 8:00 a.m. is best, now that our children are older. You are through with church by 11, and still have the entire glorious day to watch sports on TV, have people over, take a nap, go home teaching, etc.

  7. 7.

    For six years I lived in a branch that always met at the lovely 10:00 a.m. slot because we didn’t share the building with anyone else. When we moved it was a rude shock to be hit with the 1-4 slot, which eviscerates the day. Now (because like Ziff we share the building with the singles) we always meet 9-12, which is better but a bit unpleasantly early for us night owls.

  8. 8.

    We have three wards in our building, and one is a single ward, the other two family wards with young kids. The two family wards used to rotate between the 9 and 11 start times, with the singles ward permanently meeting at 1. This year, though, they decided to let the singles into the rotation, so we have the 1:00 start time. I think that it should be codified in the handbook that families with young children (still taking naps) should never have to attend church at 1. It is terrible. I hate it. My kids hate it. Church is a miserable experience for us, and we have often skipped at least parts of church for a nap. I would prefer to attend church with all the other families with young kids rather than have to suffer through a 1:00-4:00 meeting time.

  9. 9.

    Right now we have church from 8:00 to 10:30. (We are on the 2.5 hr. plan around here still because there are more Mormons than buildings still). I thought I would hate it, but it turns out that being done with church at 10:30 am rules. (Alas, it will only last a couple of more months since new buildings are almost done…)

    Anyway, I think 10 is the optimal time overall. Lets you sleep in on Sunday but isn’t too late.

  10. 10.

    I love 10:00. That’s when my current ward meets, and it’s perfect – you get to sleep in, and you aren’t spending time just waiting until it’s time for church, and it get over at a reasonable hour. We don’t share the building with any other wards, so we don’t rotate to another time; every year church starts at 10:00. Perfect.

  11. 11.

    I am ward clerk, so my church starts at 10 and goes until 6… (cries)

    the 3 hour block starts at 1. It’s fine because you can go to dinner right after church. It’s not good for people who have to work on sundays though…

  12. 12.

    It depends on what time my kids are napping. Now, my younger child is two and napping in the afternoon, so 9 would be an optimal start time (for him, not for me). If you have children who still take two naps a day (in our experience, starting whenever they have a normalized schedule until they’re around a year old), there is no three-hour block of time during the day that doesn’t conflict with their eating/sleeping schedule in some way.

    We’re currently on a 3-6 schedule, because the singles ward that also meets in our building insisted this year on being included in the rotation (they’re now at 1-4, and still insist on having their monthly break-the-fast dinner, even though our ward is still in the building with two hours of church to go, but that’s another topic!–we’ll see if they still want to be in the rotation when they’re supposed to come at 9). The two-year-old has to make to do with a curtailed nap, which works okay (but not great) for him because he’s generally a happy kid. Others with kids who rely more on getting a full and complete nap fare less well.

    I loved the 3-6 schedule when I was in a singles ward. It allowed plenty of time for a leisurely brunch, and I could go straight to dinner with friends afterward.

  13. 13.

    I recently moved from a singles ward that we were told would meet from 1-4 until the end of time. It was nice for sleeping in, I suppose, but I ran into conflicts with family activities with seeming regularity. I now live in a singles ward that meets in one of the 4 chapels in the SLC institute (with 20 other wards) and I am completely sold on 9am. It’s a little early but I absolutely love having the whole rest of the day to do nothing… too bad I no longer live around my family so I have to enjoy it alone…

  14. 14.

    That’s easy! 9:00-11:00. Yep, two hours would be heavenly! Three hours is so long. Sitting for that length of time (especially when many of our meetings don’t have the content or delivery to sustain keeping anyone awake or engaged) is brutal.

  15. 15.

    I’m part of a singles ward where we have been 1-4 for what I’ve been told is now decades.

    HAAAATE it though the worst I’ve ever had was 3-6. I’d rather have church at 8 am than 3pm.

  16. 16.

    I also love the 10am start time. The ward we just moved into starts at 10am, and I’m so happy. And since we don’t usually share a building (we are temporarily right now because one of the other wards is having their building expanded) we get to pick our own time, and we will probably always meet at 10am. Yeah!

    My biggest reason for loving 10am is that it works best for my older son. He gets up between 8 and 8:30am, so getting ready and getting to church by 9 means we have to wake him up, and that makes him crabby all day (and church completely miserable for all of us). Lunch is usually between 12:30 and 1, so with the snack from nursery it’s not a big deal to eat when we get home at 1:30. And naptime is 3:30-5:30. If we got put on a 3-6 schedule I’m pretty sure I’d go inactive. There’s no way he could handle that. Of course, my younger son usually takes two naps, the first one starting between 10:30 and 11, so Sundays throw his schedule completely out of whack. But any church time would do that, and he’s much easier to deal with when his schedule’s bad than the older one.

  17. 17.

    I agree with Vada, church time is completely related to children and their schedules. Beyond that it’s just preferences.
    When my first was a colicky baby, I’d walk him home from our wymount ward to our apartment and put him to bed during church. (I felt incredibly guilty about it) I mean, for newborns, there’s a complete eating/sleeping/waking cycle in 3 hrs. I remember thinking that I couldn’t have a testimony of a church that demanded families bring their newborns to a 3 hr block.

  18. 18.

    Geoff, I think I might be able to stand 8 AM if it meant a 2.5 hour block. Like you, Mark, I love that it leaves time later in the day for, uh, important business. :)

    church time is completely related to children and their schedules.

    Jessawhy, you’re so right. My younger son is four. How quickly I forget to be grateful that he’s old enough to not be tremendously affected by odd church schedules. But even then, he occasionally falls asleep in sacrament meeting.

  19. 19.

    Jett #15 are you Jett the animator? If so, would you please e-mail the cartoon you made of me? ann dot porter at gmail dot com.

    Back on topic – When I was mostly just occupying a pew on Sundays, I was on the one hour block and it rocked. I still think it rocks. Sacrament meeting, optional Sunday School, and special interest meetings for YM/YW & RS. If the men still want to have priesthood, fine. Start at 10, out by 11:15. Even the east coast games haven’t quite started yet.

    When I was a wee Catholic, Fr. Schultz always used to say the 11:15 mass. His motto was “The Last Supper only took 20 minutes; how do I think I can improve on that?” His goal was 30 minutes door to door. He almost always made it. Now THAT was awesome. My favorite ever talk by Fr. Schultz: “Today’s gospel says ‘Blessed are they that hear the word of the Lord and keep it.’ What’s the best way to hear the word of the Lord? Come to mass.” That was it. The whole sermon. I was nine. That was the first time I ever loved going to mass.

    (P.S. before anybody rags on me for not relishing our meetings, etc., I would like to state that I’m just being flippant and silly. It’s bedtime.)

  20. 20.

    I’m with everyone who yearns for a shorter block. My DH served in a mission where all the meetings were 30 minutes. Ahhh, doesn’t that sound sweet? So I vote for 10:00-12:00, with generous gab-time in between meetings. I also vote for a different ward for people who have children in the various stages of napping. Although, I decided when my first was still small that the blessings you reap from church attendance with children come from your actual attendance, not from any messages gleaned while there. Because those are few and far between.

  21. 21.

    Ann, when I was growing up, we had our own reason for getting out of SM on time. It always started at 7:30 PM, so that farmers could milk their cows first. It was supposed to end at 9, but that was when Gunsmoke started, so we knew that the speakers and the bishopric would make sure we were done by 8:45 so that we could all be home in front of the TV at 9.

  22. 22.

    I’d have to say “other.” I think the church should set it up so that the building opens up at 8am with a member of the bishopric present, and at least one priest and then every hour or every half hour, depending upon who shows up, if some member does show up, the priest can bless the bread and water and pass it out to whoever is there. The wards could split it up so that each ward would have a member of the bishopric preside over his priest(s) and bless and pass out the sacrament during a three hour block. Then the next ward would preside over the next three hours, and so on and so forth. Ideally, it would be 8 – 5 (or even later) so that anyone could go to the local chapel and receive the sacrament. It doesn’t take more than a half hour to bless and pass the sacrament, so it can be done at the top and bottom of each hour.

    In this way, a person can choose the best time to partake of the sacrament and virtually anyone would be able to make it, even those who worked on Sunday. Also, for small groups of members, instead of blessing a whole bunch of bread and water, the exact amount needed could be blessed.

    The benefits of such a system could be: each member of the bishopric getting experience in presiding each Sunday (they would be rotated throughout the day), the priests would also be rotated and get lots of experience blessing the sacrament each Sunday, any teachers that are present likewise could be rotated would get lots of experience passing the sacrament, etc. In other words, the Aaronic priesthood would really be employed if such a system were set up.

    Now, just in case you think so, I am not kidding. I am an active LDS and an anarchist, and I think we should be free to go to the chapel and partake of the sacrament more than just at one set time, which if we are late, we must wait a whole week for another opportunity.

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