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

Get your fill of winter activities on Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier’s landscape undergoes a dramatic transformation in winter.

Bonney Lake, Sumner gear up for holiday festivities

Plateau holiday festivities are right around the corner.

Enumclaw, Buckley busy during the holidays

What’s going on during the holiday season on the Plateau? Here’s a list of activities you and your family may enjoy!

Giving Trees help kids with Christmas

Nexus Youth And Families Enumclaw is asking local residents to help a child in need this Christmas by participating in the organization’s Giving Tree program.

Santa’s Mystery Brunch: An interactive family whodunit | Pierce County

At “Santa’s Mystery Brunch,” an interactive family whodunit, audience members become detectives to help solve who stole Santa’s magical bag filled with toys and presents.

Preventing a Hepatitis A outbreak | Public Health Insider

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a highly contagious virus. A large outbreak in San Diego, along with outbreaks in Los Angeles and in Salt Lake City has Public Health officials concerned that a hepatitis A outbreak could occur in King County. Dr. Jeff Duchin, King County’s Health Officer, explains who’s at risk and what can be done to prevent an outbreak.

Rescue group aims to save dogs’ lives; Saturday fun run will benefit the cause

All great dogs end with a tail, but this great tale begins with a dog.

Annual quilt show coming to Expo Center

The Crystal Quilters are preparing for a return to the Enumclaw Expo Center, getting ready for their 22nd annual quilt show.

Scottish Country dancers return to Enumclaw for 23rd year

For more than two decades, this group of dancers — now led by Jim and Pat McDonald — has been encouraging people from all over South King County and East Pierce County to learn more about their Scottish heritage or, barring a clan bloodline, to just get out and try something new.

Learn to compost with some red wrigglers

The Dinkelman Worm Farm is hosting a vermiculture demonstration — or the cultivation of earth worms — at the Delvin Farms Good For All Plants event next weekend to help people create compost in their own homes to help benefit their gardens or farms.

Free series provides insight from expert on death, dying

As a funeral home director in the 1980s, Duane Weeks began wondering why people weren’t dealing with death very well.

Use our blessings to serve others | Church Corner

As the smoke and ash rolled in this week, and last, I stood in awe of it’s quantity and thickness. The snowflake-like ash fell to the ground covering patio furniture, cars and even settling like dander on my head and across my shoulders. It was a unique experience.