Why are some people, including John Proctor, inclined to stay away from Sabbath meeting?
John Proctor and others have a conflict with the new minister. In Puritan times, the belief was that God would not allow an impious man to become a minister. Hale references this in Act II when he says, "the man's ordained, therefore the light of God is in him." However, Proctor feels that Reverend Parris is too concerned about wealth and worldly matters. For a Puritan, this would suggest that the man was NOT godly. Specifically, Proctor complains that Parris insisted on gold candlesticks for the altar. He says that this is proof that there is "no light of God in that man."
While the gold candlesticks might not seem like a big deal, the Puritans were iconoclasts and obsessed with removing the trappings of wealth and power out of the church as distractions from true worship. They believe that when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai (in the Bible) that he carried the commandment to eliminate all images. The Puritans ripped paintings out of churchs, smashed stained glass, and denounced any sort of decoration on the altar, believing that the decoration was a distraction from god. So, putting gold candlesticks on the altar was, in the mind of Proctor and others, proof that Parris was corrupt.