Truth is, first visits to a church or parish can be intimidating. In addition to being surrounded by a sea of strange faces, and often being confronted with an utterly unfamiliar liturgy, guests have to deal with two dreaded questions: Whose regular seat am I taking? How mad are they going to be?
To ease any anxiety St. James visitors may experience, and to help them immediately feel at home, members of our Greeting and Welcoming Ministry station themselves in the Narthex ahead of the 8am and 10am worship services.
St. James greeters extend a warm welcome to visitors, help them find a seat in the sanctuary, introduce them to parishioners and clergy members during the passing of the peace, invite them for coffee in the Parish Hall following worship, and, as a parting gift, hand them a St. James-inscribed coffee mug.
One last thing: Greeters also invite visitors to come back to St. James and worship with us again.
The work of Greeting and Welcoming Ministry members, however, does not conclude once our parish visitors wave good-bye. In fact, it’s only just begun.
Within a matter of weeks, if not days, some G&W members – bread bakers – prepare homemade loaves of bread that other G&W members – bread takers – deliver to the residence of our St. James guests. Meanwhile, other G&W members – admin types – maintain a database of all parish visitors, prepare thank you letters for Father Gardner’s signature, and coordinate greeting, baking and delivery schedules.
Do you recall your visit to St. James: Did a parish member reach out and welcome you, putting you at ease and allaying your fears? If so, perhaps would like to repay that individual’s generous spirit and kindly nature by affiliating with our G&W Ministry. If not, perhaps you would like to make up for that slight and discourtesy by affiliating with our G&W Ministry.
Much G&W work remains to be accomplished, especially with attracting new members (families and individuals) to St. James and immersing them in parish life. Please consider coming by the G&W Ministry table on Rally Day (Aug. 26) and finding out how you can apply your gifts and talents to help St. James grow and flourish.