While many congregations hold both traditional and contemporary worship services, a United Methodist church in Boise, Idaho, is offering scented and unscented versions.
The 2,400-member Boise United Methodist Church began a "fragrance-free" Sunday afternoon service in July for worshipers who are sensitive to unnatural fragrances and fibers. Assistant pastor Jon Brown is in charge of the service, which is attended by his wife, who is sensitive to chemicals and fragrances. Unscented lay volunteers are helping out with music. "The church can be a real lethal place," says pastor R. Tom Tucker. Those who attend the scent-free service must wear only natural fiber clothing and no perfume, cologne, after-shave, hair spray, scented soaps or deodorants.
Parishioners meet in a small, stone chapel at the church where scented cleaners are not used. Tucker says about a dozen people have been attending, but he is not concerned about numbers.
"This is a specialized ministry to a constituency that won't attend otherwise," he says. "This way they can come to worship and fellowship." It is also viewed as an outreach. Most of those attending are not Methodists.1
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