When I first arrived at All Saints there was no designated greeters, and the comment was made that, “We know everybody”.
We now have moved well beyond with greeters at each entryway. All are greeted, and those new to All Saints are asked to sign a guest book, one at each entrance. Greeters have also begun to introduce guests by name during announcements at the very beginning of our worship. We also do a wonderful ministry at the Passing of the Peace, sharing God’s peace with everyone.
The next step is to greet and host. There is a difference. Welcoming, greeting and passing the peace are extending the hand with a smile. We say, “Welcome”, and “Good to see you”, and “Thank you for worshipping with us”, and “The peace of the Lord be with you”.
Hosting is going one step beyond to make our guests feel at home. That may include sitting with the guest. Even for experienced jugglers, the Book of Common Prayer, the Hymnal 1982, and multiple inserts can be a challenge. At communion time an additional invitation to join with us at the altar may be helpful, just saying, “All are invited to be at God’s table, please join us”.
And hosting continues following worship with an invitation to join us for coffee hour. Most folks are looking for an experience at worship that enriched their lives, and an experience at coffee hour that enlarges their friendship circle. Go with the guest to get that cup of coffee and light refreshment, introduce them to other members by name and sit with them at coffee hour.
I am convinced that smiles and good conversation open us all to more fully experience God’s kingdom here on Earth. So let’s all become hosts, reaching beyond greeting as we seek to grow everyone’s awareness of God’s goodness.
Paul C Donecker, priest in charge