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?