What do I do in a church (synagogue) if I am not a member?


First, the matter of dress. Most religious gatherings require conservative, subdued suits, skirts, slacks or dresses. Shorts, jeans and T–shirts are not appropriate. In Orthodox Jewish synagogues, married women wear some form of head covering. In Catholic churches, traditional female attire includes a scarf for the head. Men in Christian churches do not wear a hat, but in Orthodox Jewish synagogues men always wear a hat. If you are invited to attend a religious ser–vice, it is proper to ask, “What should I wear?” Your inquiry will show that you want to respect the customs of that religion.

If you attend a worship service in a Protestant or Catholic Church or Jewish synagogue and you are not a member of that faith, you are usually safe in doing what the other members of the congregation do. When others sing, pray, stand up or listen, just do the same. If you do not wish to take part in something, just sit quietly until that part of the service is over.

During the worship service, an offering plate is passed down each aisle. Even though you are not a member of the congregation you can ex–press your gratitude to the assembly by placing several dollar bills (the amount in not important) folded in half on the plate before passing it on. Usually the head of the family does this on be–half of the other members.