Considering what our ‘welcome’ really means | Church Corner

Every year at New Year’s I make some feeble attempts to “clean up my act.” This year I am trying to get rid of unwanted stuff and clean out my closets. It remains to be seen how well I follow through with my resolutions.

  • Thursday, February 9, 2017 11:31am
  • Life

Originally published Jan. 25, 2016.

Every year at New Year’s I make some feeble attempts to “clean up my act.” This year I am trying to get rid of unwanted stuff and clean out my closets. It remains to be seen how well I follow through with my resolutions. This aside, I wish to share an article about how to welcome people into church. It has made me think about what attitudes do I need to “clean up” in order to say “Welcome.”

The article is a welcome message from Coventry Cathedral in England. It calls for authentic welcome of all people in all circumstances. If that sounds familiar, consider the message that Jesus gave both in word and in deed. Take care of one another, the stranger and all who need encouragement. His message did not say take care of only some and not others.

As I was mulling over this welcome message, two local church billboard messages came to mind. One says, “Come As You Are” and the other says “God Is NOT Mad at You.” These are positive attitudes that encourage people to come to worship. If we want to be honest with ourselves, each of us have some less-than-welcoming attitudes that we would do well to re-examine. Talk about New Year’s resolutions! This article spells it out in terms of cleaning up our attitudes about some people.

A welcome is extended to “wailing babies and excited toddlers. We welcome you whether you can sing like Pavarotti or just growl quietly to yourself. …We don’t care if you’re more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury or haven’t been to church since Christmas 10 years ago. …”

The article goes on to list any number of types of persons from all circumstances, some of whom we might not feel comfortable to include. In seminary, we learned about an Episcopal priest on the East Coast who said he would consider his church to be successful in the gospel message if those who were financially stable were sitting in the pews next to homeless persons who brought all their belongings with them.

The conclusion of the article reads like this: “We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down their throats as kids, or got lost on the Ring Road and wound up here by mistake. We welcome pilgrims, tourists, seekers, doubters and you. “

The full text of the welcome message can be found at this website: http://www.npr.org/2017/01/15/509937021/english-cathedral-welcomes-visitors- with-unexpected-message

I would recommend taking a look at this full message. It can make us re-imagine what “welcome” really means.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind…and You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22: 37-39).

Cindy Ehlke writes from Calvary Presbyterian.

More in Life

Levy money to aid senior programs in Enumclaw, Black Diamond | King County

By 2040, more than a quarter of King County’s population will be seniors. Healthy lifestyles and social engagement are keys to living long and living well.

Program designed for families dealing with mental illness | Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation

The classes will focus on several different kinds of mental illnesses and the skills necessary to handle crisis situations, how to listen and communicate, and self-care for dealing with worry and stress.

Activities Program boasts big numbers, variety

The White River Communities Activities Program has activities for students in kindergarten through fifth grade all year long.

County animal services visiting local neighborhoods | Regional Animal Services of King County

All cats and dogs eight weeks or older in the RASKC service area are required to be licensed with King County.

Water birthing on the Plateau

Water birth is popular abroad but not yet widely available in the U.S.

Caregiver film series focuses on relationship stress | Pierce County

At the age of 21 Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and continued his work with the support of his wife, Jane. She provided care as the disease progressed – both to their children and Steven. Over the years, his advancing care needs added stress that took a significant toll on their relationship.

Dive into the story of the average gig-employee

Your allowance was never enough, as a kid. Oh, sure, it bought… Continue reading

Proudly in defense of breastfeeding, in King County and everywhere | Public Health Insider

Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health—Seattle & King County, responded to the news that the United States government aggressively attempted to water down international support for breast-feeding through the World Health Organization.

My Favorite Martins

Steve Martin and Martin Short discuss bringing their two-man comedy extravaganza back to Seattle.

‘Bearskin’ is a thriller like no other

Sometimes, you just need to get away. Out of your element, far… Continue reading

Photos can represent good, bad memories

The picture reminds you of a thousand things. You recall the day… Continue reading