Sunday, 7 June 2015

Welcome to Church

Over the last few weeks we have had quite a few visitors and new Beaker Folk around the Moot House. Maybe a bit of housekeeping needed on our welcoming techniques, I reckon.

First up, can I remind everyone about the good practice shown in the Perfect Church Welcoming Leaflet.  But if we could just learn from the last months' experiences?

Remember that woman who came in at the end of April? The one you all greeted when she came in? She described it as "like Shaun of the Dead". This is not good.

Well done to Shona. She saw Ranwulf heading purposefully towards the young woman who wandered in last week. That very attractive woman. I now Ranwulf is still complaining about the broken hip he suffered when Shona rugby-tackled him to the ground. I think that hip was a price worth paying.

Now on the subject of diversity. We are a welcoming and accepting congregation. We welcome people of all faiths and nuns. And likewise we are keen to welcome people from across the LGBTQIA. But whoever came up with that questionnaire, you shouldn't have. And whoever gave it to those new people to fill in, you really shouldn't have. Really, really, shouldn't. You don't have to be that welcoming. We had to get an expert in to explain some of those terms.

If people don't tell you where they live when you welcome them (and let's face it, why should they?) then following them home so you know where to post the Community magazine is also out.

Giving people earplugs on the way in may not be the best way of putting them into a good frame of mind for worshipping. Instead, keep them in reserve for when the Beaker Quire starts playing.

Yes, saying somebody's name a couple of times is a good way to remember it. Saying in between 20 and 30 times in one welcoming conversation is really pushing the limits of obsessive. Especially when you squeal it.

Saying "what percentage chance is there you will be back next week?" at the end of the service is perhaps a little bit obsessive.

Likewise, refusing to give somebody an information leaflet on the grounds that "you won't come back - they never do" is perhaps suggesting a bit of defeatism in the situation.

Scanning people to see if they are secretly alien lizards is never welcoming. Even if we did catch two last week.

It's nice to give visitors - or regular members - gifts. Especially at this time of year. Primroses, tomato plants, lily flowers. But eggs and tomatoes? What made you think that was a good idea?

1 comment :

  1. If you want to capture new members welcome is the last thing you need. You've got to play hard to get.
    1. Studiously ignore them, just shove a service leaflet into their hand and point them towards the seats by the organ pipes to be deafened by the over zealous organist who plays at full volume.
    2. Tell them that you only have fair trade coffee and don't have chocolate biscuits.
    3. Offer them a post-service evaluation sheet and a pen and than stand, looking over their shoulder huffing and snorting as they complete it.
    4. Don't give out information such as sit, stand or page numbers for the next bit of the service, just let them stew to pick it up as they go along.
    5. Remember that they're not just strangers, but also 'strange' as they've not been before - haven't they heard about your glorious church and it's history of resistance to change.
    6. Draw their attention to your traditions of:
    a. Only male headship.
    b. Women are to wear hats and arms and necks are to be covered.
    short skirts are forbidden and trousers are a no, no.
    c. If you have any alternative sexual inclinations, other than the
    missionary position, with a member of the opposite sex, who you're
    married to, don't hang around, unless prepared to publically
    repent and wear sack cloth and ashes for three months.
    d. The only permitted service book if the book of common prayer.
    e. The only permitted hymn book is Hymns Ancient and Modern,
    1902 edition.
    f. The use of any version of the bible except the KJV is forbidden.
    7. If they are thinking of coming again, please ensure that female heads are covered and that children have restraining straps or reins or gag as needed to control their conduct.
    8. All knives and cudgels are to be left at the door.
    9. All technical devices are to be deposited in the box at the door and collected when leaving.
    10. If they're not confirmed Anglicans, in good standing with their home church, don't bother turning up at the Altar Rail for communion.
    11. Any inquires for marriage or baptism from unmarried #living together sinful types will be declined on the basis or immoral character.
    12. All new congregation members are required to undergo Enhanced DBS checks for both Children and Vulnerable adults.

    If this doesn't convince them, than the Vicar's pit bulls will do the trick.


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