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When my wife, Debbie, and I visited Christ Church for the first time in January, there was a greeter with Welcome Ministry to open the door and offer a warm invitation. It really made a difference, giving us a sense that we were wanted here.
Our best memories during those early visits to Christ Church were when those seated around us made an effort to say “Hello!” And I’m not talking about the greeting we received at the “Passing of the Peace,” but rather the attention given before and after services to meet us and welcome us as newcomers.
Sadly, in larger churches, we tend to refrain from reaching out to those around us—especially to those who may be new to the church. As creatures of habit and familiarity, we may feel uncomfortable making the effort to reach out and extend an intentional greeting to someone we don’t recognize. But for Debbie and me, the greetings that came from those seated around us in worship…they really made a difference!
Christ Church is a welcoming church. We love one another well. When I meet with the members of our Welcome Ministry, many tell me that what meant the most to them when they visited Christ Church for the first time was the “hello and welcome” they received during their early visits. I am passionate about the call we have as a church to be better and better at welcoming. Everyone is called to welcome.
We welcome because that is the heart of Christ.
Jesus said: “And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me’ ” (Matthew 25: 38-40).
The Rev. Steven SaulVicar, Welcome & Family Ministry
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