The Caring Community Ministry at my church wants the congregation to wear name tags every Sunday morning as part of an objective “to create a greater sense of community within parish membership”. I am repelled by the idea. Name tags are not for church services. Name tags in church are, in my opinion, a prideful form of public display. Christ says prayer is a private act, involving God and the penitent one (Matthew 6:6). God knows who I am; he doesn’t need a name tag.
in church we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others. By having some identified as members by means of name tags, we are not welcoming visitors, but saying they are not a part of this particular part of Christ’s body. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:4-6
The church service is a time to be still and know God. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22) It is not a time to socialize.
Name tags are for social and corporate assemblies, not services of worship. Name tags and socializing belong after the service in the parish hall during coffee hour. I for one am not eager to embrace the idea and I will not be wearing a name tag at a church service.
I disagree, though I can see where the name tags are more appropriate in the coffee hour than in the service. I think knowing parishioners names is valuable to me and my lousy memory, and facilitates in welcoming newcomers who aren’t “tagged”. I don’t think that wearing a name tag makes my prayers during the service more or less prideful.
Thanks for raising the question – it deserves respectful debate.
Personally, I don’t think this issue has anything to do with pridefulness. But I also don’t think the nametags are appropriate for wearing in a service of worship. Any other gathering, yes. I can see them being useful in the coffee hour in the parish hall, so why not keep them there? In worship, my feeling is that it doesn’t matter who the person is next to me. I may never have ever met him/her, may never do so again. We worship as human souls together, all children of God, all neighbours, whether we’re acquainted or not. The actual names don’t matter at this time. My gut reaction is that the nametags do detract from the act of worship.