Our New Vicar thinks about what sort of welcome we give..
I was looking at our Church notice board today and thinking we need to get it up to date now I 'm here as a new vicar so people can contact me , and it got me thinking how could we show people they are a welcome in our Church, whoever they are.
It got me thinking of a sign that was displayed in another church that I likes so I have adapted here for our church for you to read.
"We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, confused, filthy rich, comfortable, or dirt poor. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rake or could afford to lose a few pounds. You’re welcome if you are Old Rawdon, New Rawdon, Not Rawdon, or just passing by.
We welcome you if you can sing like Pavarotti or can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re ‘just browsing,’ just woke up, or just got out of prison. We don’t care if you’re more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury, or haven’t been in church since little Jack’s christening.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome keep-fit mums, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like ‘organised religion.’ We’ve been there too!
If you blew all your money on the horses, you’re welcome here. We offer a welcome to those who think the earth is flat, ‘work too hard,’ don’t work, can’t spell, or are only here because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost on the the way to the Dales and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts… and you!”
I think we'd like to extend a welcome like that! And that our Church can be a place you can come "just as you are" and know you will be accepted without judgment, and find others who will laugh or cry with you, pray with you, or leave you alone if that's what you want.