At its core, everything we do in church is about hospitality:
How we include people of all backgrounds and ages in our worship; how we greet one another at the "peace" and after our worship; how we treat strangers who come in the door, whether they are visitors from out of town, or new to our community and looking for a church, or hard up and living on the streets in Charlottesville -- all of it is about hospitality.
How we treat each other and talk about each other is about hospitality.
How we work outside the parish is ultimately a reflection of our hospitality inside the parish.
From time to time this summer, I want to explore the theme of hospitality in sermons, on this blog, and in our newsletter. I invite your reflections and comments on what we are doing well at St. Paul's and what we can do better. We don't have to do everything all at once, but we can strengthen our hospitality if we all do this together.
Recently we started a Welcome Center in the Parish Hall. It has a big banner above it with the Episcopal Church emblem and is staffed on Sundays by members of our Newcomers Friends ministry team. If you would like to volunteer to take a rotation sitting at the table, or join the Newcomers Friends, please stop by the Welcome Center and sign up, or contact me through the office.
And when you notice someone new, please introduce yourself, invite him/her/them to coffee in the Parish Hall and bring them to the Welcome Center.
How to know a new person? The ushers are giving out nametags with stars on them to new people and visitors, which means that it is a good idea if you wear your nametag. More on nametags in another post.
Cartoon by Dave Walker