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Welcoming Our Guests

By Rev. Tammy Scott

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   While on vacation recently, I decided to take the girls to Sunday worship at a friend’s church. (Turns out my friend was on vacation too...guess I should have called!) We arrived a few minutes before worship was scheduled to begin. I entered the church through the side of  the building, carrying both girls in my arms. From the moment I entered the building until we sat in our pew, not a single person greeted us. A few people smiled and said, “You have your arms full!” But not a single person offered to help me find the sanctuary, restrooms, or nursery. As the prelude began, one of the girls needed to use the bathroom. We quietly snuck out of the sanctuary and for the first time I was greeted by someone-- the Children’s Minister. She pointed me toward the bathroom and explained where I could find the nursery. Back in the sanctuary, registration pads were passed, but none ever came to us. That congregation has NO record of me and the girls attending; no opportunity to connect with me about my needs or invite me into conversation about  ministry together. 

   After the children’s sermon, I decided to take the girls to the nursery so I could actually listen to the sermon. When we walked into the nursery, I saw about 8 children ages 1-4 playing in a conference room (the church is currently remodeling its education wing) with only ONE young adult working.In about 15 minutes, I received a text from the nursery worker, just as the sermon ended, saying the girls were crying and that I needed to come get them. I decided this was a good time to make our exit from the church. I grabbed our things, picked up the girls, and we left. 

   I share this story to say that I hope this experience would never happen to a visitor at Grace. In order to make sure that it doesn't, there are a few things that each of us can do to be more welcoming.

1.    Greet ALL people, especially those you don't know with a smile and “good morning”.
2.    Be sure to share the Friendship Pads in worship with everyone in your pew so that we can have an opportunity to reach out and be in ministry together.
3.    If someone asks you where something is, do your best to take them there rather than just point them in the general direction.

   I invite and challenge you to be prepared to welcome our guests!