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Author: Julie Griffitts
I love welcoming. As a church member, my favorite activity is welcoming newcomers to the church, introducing them to people in the congregation, and helping them get connected with groups and activities that interest them. I view this as a calling. I was a shy child in a family that moved to a new state every 3 or 4 years, and I know well what it is to be a stranger and an outsider. It was hard for me to reach out to visitors at church at first. My habit was to be shy, but I worked on it. Now it’s easy and joyful to introduce myself, ask people their names, and welcome them.
One of the best parts of my job in the church office is meeting all the people who show up, and getting to know a little more about them. On a recent afternoon the doorbell rang. I opened the Pine Street door where a man stood holding a potted plant. “My family wants to give this to the church,” he said. “My mother just died and this church used to be a big part of her life.” I remembered her well, but she stopped coming a long time ago. “Oh, you’re Micki’s son,” I said, to his surprise. He used to come as a child. He mentioned a hand-carved front door that used to be on the old building that was replaced by the Faith Center. “Come see where we’ve put the door,” I said, leading him to the Heritage Room. He was pleased to see the door again, and to have his family remembered. I was glad to be able to make him feel a bit at home.
I love being in this welcoming community. Every person who shows up reveals a facet of the face of God.