...and talked about sailing.
After the Tuesday coffee break the ministerial staff meet, while Brenda and Corrinne go back to work. I guess technically the staff meeting is work too.
At the staff meeting Keith was (as usual) trying to identify newcomers to the congregation. Michael and I were (as usual) trying to describe newcomers with vague terms such as, "He was sitting in the back. He was a man with hair. His name started with a T..or was it an X?"
It made us think about how people are welcomed to the congregation. St. Martin's is a welcoming congregation but for many people who come to church, it can be a scary experience. Sometimes people come to our church because of bad experiences in other churches. They might be afraid what we might do or say because they've been hurt in other faith communities. Sometimes people come to church with little idea of what we do, so it is strange to them that we stand and sit during the services and sing--out loud! Sometimes people come back to St. Martin's after ten, twenty or thirty years--thinking that things will be the same but every church has changed a lot in that time. Whenever someone steps through the door of our church for the first time in a long time they are taking a risk.
So kudos to those in our congregation who smile, shake hands and ask a little bit about the people around them. We aren't always able to tell who is new, ministers or members. We sometimes mistake a lifelong member for a newcomer! It is worth a few mistakes though, to make sure that people know that whoever they are, whatever they have done, they are welcome here. We want to work and worship together to get to know the God that has called us together.