You’d think church restrooms would be a no brainer. I mean all you need is a plumbed porcelain seat and a sink. And both of them should function properly.
But honestly, I’ve been visiting a number of churches of different denominations lately (what with Holy Week, meetings, and presentations), and let me tell you… I think Lutherans could beef up their bathrooms a bit and be in the running for “The Best Place to Hide Out if You Want to Avoid ‘Sharing of the Peace.’”
For those of you who don’t know about “Sharing of the Peace” it’s a custom in which a person turns to the person next to them, extends their hand and says, “Peace be with you.” It occurs after the sermon and blessing, and then congregants are encouraged to share the peace with one another.
That’s when all chaos breaks out for Lutherans. For years we’ve been taught to sit quietly in our pews, chairs, or whatever sitting device is being used. No waving of the hands, or shouting random “Amens”, and sermons are rarely interactive.
But things have changed. At first, folks were reticent, but they’d been sitting a while, listening to a sermon and speaking the liturgical script, so they were ready to stretch their legs a bit and whisper a shy, “God bless you to their neighbor.” But now…like many changes…we start wearing it like we thought of it. At the mention of “Share the peace,” folks jump out of their seats, grab hands and start pumping them, adding a blessing. Borders are crossed. People who have sat in one section of the church all their lives take a tour through other sections. The choir makes a break from their music stands.
If it’s cold and flu season, we’ve been instructed not to share our germs, but many “Peace-givers” cheat by bumping fists and even rubbing elbows. My Lutheran ancestors would be wide-eyed with shock.
As you can imagine, there are some who don’t care for the practice, but they’ve found it’s a great time to make a bathroom exit. (After all, sometimes the sermons are long, and we’ve just had 2 cups of strong, Lutheran coffee).
You thought I’d forgotten about the topic, hadn’t you?
For Your Restroom Beautification Pleasure…here’s your checklist…
- Good smelling soap (Well, of course, this is a committee smell-test project)
- Hand Lotion (Not the stuff that didn’t sell at the church rummage sale)
- Hygiene products for our soft parts
- A plunger (Nothing’s more embarrassing than trying to find someone to tell about the toilet that’s overflowing).
- A box of tissues (Make that two boxes. The restroom is a favorite crying spot.)
- A step stool for our “little soon-to-be-women”
- A couple of tasteful wall decorations. (One holy and one non-liturgical to appeal to both members and visitors.)
- And for St. Peter’s sake, put the trash can next to the door!! We use the same paper towel to dry our hands AND grab the door handle. Don’t make us heave the towel across the bathroom as we exit.
I recently had the chance to use the Award-winning “Best Bathroom” in Vancouver, British Columbia. (I’m not kidding…there was a contest.)
I submitted these pictures to our church property committee, hoping they’d make structural changes in our old restrooms.
They’re still laughing.
Any more bathroom recommendations?