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Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Perfect Church Welcome Leaflet

Welcome to St Daphne's!

A 13th century church, still with some of the original features and worshippers. Obviously you don't want a welcome leaflet to be obsessed with a load of architectural information, so we'll just point out the 14th century font, Perpendicular chancel, the original oak door, the Gothic revival Lady Chapel with an interesting collection of misericords, and the twelve "green men" scattered around the place. Looking for the "green men" can be great fun. That's why we've stuck big arrows up around the place to make it easy to find them.

Here at St Daphne's, we are a friendly church. Try not to be too scared by the smiles on our faces as we greet you. We're just a bit unused to visitors, and some of our members are not as socially-adept as we might be. So they are inclined to look a bit alarming when they try to break into a grin.

Please be aware when choosing your seat that certain pews are designated to their regular occupants. You will have no way of knowing which these are, but be assured that they're definitely the ones you're thinking of sitting in. But although a bit set in our ways, we are a group of very welcoming people.

Especially the vicar. She's the one you can see talking at the front during the service. Unfortunately she will have rushed into the church without really greeting you (because she was on her way in from St Ambrose's church, where she took the 8 o'clock) and she won't get much chance to talk to you on the way out, either - she's got to get over to St Swithin's for the 10.30. She has a fairly fixed expression, we know. This is because she is now so used to "showing her face" for short periods of time at so many events. Her face is more-or-less stuck in that expression where she looks vaguely friendly, but too busy actually to stop and talk. And her eyebrows don't move at all from that kind of alarmed look any more, as a result.

And steer clear of Gilbert. If he latches onto you, you may never get away. You can recognise Gilbert quite easily, as he's the person who gave you this leaflet. You may think there is a flaw in this warning, and you're probably right. Next week, why not bring a friend or two along so Gilbert can bother them instead?

St Daphne's is dedicated to being a welcoming place. That's why we won't rush up to you on your first day, asking if you're any good at DIY or bell-ringing, or interested in singing in the choir. Oh no. But we will do so next week, of course. And see the checklist on the back of this leaflet, which you can use to indicate the various skills you may be able to offer. Especially roofers. We really do need someone who's good at roof maintenance.

Try not to be too put off by the high-pitched whistling noise. The hearing aid loop isn't working on the PA, and old Esme now has her aid turned up so high she's in a total state of feedback. The good news is that she can't hear it. The bad news is, we all can.

Do you have small children? If so, why don't you come back when they've grown up? They drive us up the wall. Running around the place, giggling and squealing and knocking stuff over. Ghastly.

You may find some parts of the service quite confusing. Don't be surprised if everyone suddenly shakes hands with each other. If you go forward when everyone else does to receive communion, but you don't have a confirmation certificate with you, then don't bother trying to receive. If Revd Sheila doesn't know you, you'll just be stood there looking like a 'nana.

If you need spiritual advice or a listening ear, you can phone Revd Sheila at any time. You'll get her answer-phone message, and she'll be busy to get back to you for a week or so. But she will be able to in the end. She's very keen to talk to new people. She's just too tired sometimes to make conversation.

If you have a computer, you might like to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter, or even "like" our Facebook page. You might like to, but I wouldn't waste your time looking.

But it's always great to see new blood! Not that we keep ourselves alive by feasting on our visitors. Oh no, I wouldn't like you to get that idea.

St Daphne's is a fair-trade church. Just as soon as we've got some power and running water, we're even hoping to buy some coffee.

And don't forget - the thing we need above all is money. That's why the envelope this leaflet came in contains a gift-aid form, a standing order form, the text of the Rich Young Ruler and a comedy picture of a sad vicar looking at a church with no roof on.

Services

1st Sunday: 10.15 (except June-August, when it is 3.15pm)

2nd Sunday: 8.45 (HC); 12.05 (Songs of Praise)

3rd Sunday: 11.07 (except between Septuagesima and Mothering Sunday, when it is 10.45)

4th Sunday: Family service (no children)

5th Sunday: United Benefice Service. On months that are even-numbered, at St Agnes, Little Mithering, 8.45. On months that are primes (except 2), at St Ambroses's, Great Mithering at 10am. On odd-numbered months except primes, here at St Daphne's at 12.15pm. Except if the fifth Sunday is on the 31st of the month, in which case it's at St Swithin's, Rayneigh.

11 comments :

  1. Forgive me if i just do a quick cut and paste with this, and pass it on to the parish committee. It's perfect.

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    1. You sure it wasn't your committee I pinched it off?

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  2. Once upon s time I was asked to write one of these things for a super-famous church that I was a member of. My first draft, shown to absolutely no one, was an American version of this. ;)

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    1. Nice one. Did you keep it? All offerings would be published strictly anonymously, Karin.

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  3. I was once in a parish that had a 'Gilbert'. Other members used to be primed to intervene when he collared a newcomer and rescue them!

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  4. Brilliant, definitely worth a link from the'Everybody Welcome'web site.

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  5. Brilliant, definitely worth a link from the'Everybody Welcome'web site.

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  6. Is there room fro a printing press in the Doily Shed, Eileen? With a bit of publicity, you could corner the market.

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  7. Phew I'm glad OUR church isn't like this. No, not at all! We LOVE visitors. In fact, we had one ten years ago. We had him stuffed and glued to a pew so we would be able to keep him forever!

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  8. Have you been visiting my church anonymously? If so, Gilbert is actually called Ray.

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