Imagine someone is visiting our church. What might they be thinking? Here are those thoughts as Father Chris Moore imagines them, in the form of a letter.
Hello, I Am a Newcomer to Your Church
You cannot know the reason why I am here this morning. It may be as simple as a move to your community or as complicated as a personal crisis that leads me to seek strength from God. In either case, I am here. And I will probably remain here and come back to worship with you next Sunday and the Sunday after and the Sunday after that, if you will do some things for me. Won’t you please . . .
. . . Smile at me as I walk in the door. You are my first impression of the church during the first few moments I am in your building, and this first impression will probably stay with me a long time.
. . . Help me find my place in the service. I will not find your help an intrusion. In fact I will remember your kindness.
. . . Speak to me during the coffee hour. I know you want to see your friends and settle that piece of committee business. But I may find it hard to believe that you truly care for each other unless I first see evidence that you care for “the stranger in your midst.”
. . . Tell me good things about your church and your clergy. I want to believe that I have come to a place where people love each other and where they believe that they are doing important and exciting things for the Lord.
. . . Notice me – even if I am not a “family”. I don’t want to feel invisible just because I am unmarried, a single parent, a teen-ager or an older person.
. . . Talk to me again the second week when I come back, and the third and the fourth. I am still not part of your parish family. Please don’t feel you have “done your duty” by me just because you made a point of greeting me the first seek I was here.
. . . Invite me to become part of some church group or organization. I need more than worship every Sunday. I need to know that I am accepted and affirmed by a group of people within the church who know me by my first name and who care about me as an individual.
If you can find it in your heart to do these things for me, I will come back . . . the second Sunday, the third, and maybe forever. I will worship with you, join your choir, work at your fair, teach in your church school, contribute to your pledge drive, and become a highly involved member of your church and, in so doing, I will find my own life immeasurably enriched as a result of having become a member of your church.