Yesterday my co-worker brought up an interesting topic at lunch. He is an usher at the Sunday traditional service in his church. For the past few Sundays, a church member has shown up with a large travel coffee mug when attending the service, and sips her beverage throughout the service. He finds this unusual, and it is not something he has seen before at the traditional service. The usher mentioned it to the minister, who decided not to address the situation. Apparently no one else in the congregation has mentioned it as bothering them. My co-worker’s question to us was, is it rude to bring a beverage to a church service?
I think it depends on your church and possibly on the nature of the service. I was raised Roman Catholic, and have never seen an adult drinking a beverage during the service, nor would this be considered appropriate. Another co-worker goes to an evangelical church, where the atmosphere is relaxed (jeans and t-shirts) and snacks and beverages are available in the church. She reported that people do bring beverages into the church services with them. As for the first co-worker’s church, considering that the service he ushers at is the more formal, traditional service, I think it is out of place to bring a travel mug, and probably not in keeping with the solemnity of the service. Of course, there may be information we do not know. Perhaps this church member has a medical condition that necessitates her drinking something frequently enough that she cannot go the entire hour the service takes without her beverage. My co-worker’s take on things was that she was just drinking coffee, though. He added that this person only recently started attending the traditional service, and he thinks she previously went to the”contemporary” service, where perhaps bringing in your coffee wouldn’t be as out of place.
To me, bringing a beverage into church makes it seem like going to the movies, as if it were entertainment to watch, rather than a solemn ceremony to participate in (and, admittedly, that’s based on my view of religious services). But if she’s not bothering anyone, it’s not rude, just perhaps odd. I look forward to hearing of others’ experiences or views. 0305-13
At the Sermon on the Mount, attended by thousands of people, Jesus multiplied the fishes and loaves so that everyone would have enough to eat. If Jesus is OK with people munching on food and drinking during his sermons, maybe we should be merciful to those who do likewise.
If the minister of your co-worker’s church sees nothing actionable in regards to a parishioner drinking coffee during the service, the buck stops with him to decide the issue.