If you are a faithful church-goer, what would make you miss Sunday service? Perhaps your full time job? It's a dilemma people are often confronted with and especially stressful when you know so many unemployed wait in the wings for work.
"My heart don't sink over much but I don't miss church services," says John Hairston.
Hairston will easily tell you being a pastor at his small church in Roanoke is his first love, but it's his other full time job at Denny's that pays the bills.
"I informed them Saturday evening before I left, I informed my managers remember, I have church service tomorrow," says Hairston.
The pastor says when Denny's interviewed him earlier this year, he told them he needed two Sunday's off a month, when his congregation meets. He never ran into a problem until this past October. He reported to the restaurant about 6:30 a.m., only to learn he'd have to stay longer than expected because of staffing issues.
"It was tough. That is the toughest day that I've had in a very long time," says Hairston.
Christianity has always viewed Sunday as a day of rest. But, these days working on Sundays seems to be as common as worshiping. According to the law, employers only have to bend so much.
"The employee may have to make some real strong personal decisions," says Victor Cardwell, an attorney with Woods Rogers.
Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, federal law prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, gender or religion. But while race and gender are absolute, when it comes to religion, an employer does have some leeway.
"If an employee has raised an issue of religious accommodation, a need to go pray on the Sabbath, whatever that might be, then the employer should try to work with that individual to accommodate that need, but not at the expense of business operations," says Cardwell.
Hairston believes this isn't only a conflict he's faced, and there are many people he personally knows that want to go to church on Sunday's but can't get time off. While he hasn't had to sacrifice another church service since the October incident, he's fully aware, one day he may have no choice but to choose.
"I just don't feel like I'm going to but any employment before my pastorship, my duties here at the church. I'm just not going to do it." says Hairston.
WDBJ7 reached out to Denny's corporate offices for comment on this story. We never heard back.