As many of you know, my wife and I (mostly my wife) home school our children. It is a great experience, and I love to see my children learn and grow in the process.
In order to make the home school experience effective and more enjoyable, we often have activities where other home schooled children get together and share time, talents and ideas. And because I happen to have a key to our Ward (church) building, and I happen to be the person who schedules the building for our Ward, we have had several activities for home school kids at our Ward building.
Well, that has officially come to an end. The LDS Church has now officially issued a statement (pdf file, not a Church affiliated link) declaring that their church buildings were not to be used for home school activities.
If you look carefully at the letter that was read to all congregations (I believe in the only U.S.), they offer two reasons for their decision. I can understand and accept the last reason they give: “Adherence to this policy will help avoid safety and tax liabilities for the Church.”
If this were the only reason offered, I think I wouldn’t have as hard of time with this instruction from our leaders.
However, the second reason, which is really related to the first, is what bothers me. The second reason given is that “Church facilities are dedicated for the purposes of worship, religious instruction, and other Church-related activities.” Okay, the reason itself isn’t what really bothers me.
I am bothered by the many non-church-related activities that are presently being done in church facilities. It is a common practice in the church to hold family gatherings (i.e., grandma’s 90th birthday, or mom and dad’s 50th anniversary) at the church. It is also even more common to hold Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner’s at the church building. These are NOT Church related activities. Yet, there was no mention of such activities in the letter and as best I can recall, no such letter has ever been written.
As the scheduler of my building, I was tempted to start canceling all such activities just to make it fair. However, I am trying to humble myself in this mind set, and graciously accept the counsel of my leaders. I will graciously allow such activities to continue.
P.S. If there are any gracious (or tax right-off seeking) business persons who would like to donate a large room for home school activities (as occasion would arise), I would appreciate hearing from you.