A member writes…When my son, a gay man, who now lives in Boston with his husband, was beginning to establish himself in Chicago after college, he went to several liberal churches to see if he could meet people. But he found himself disappointed each time at the lack of welcome even in UU congregations. He described his awkwardness, sitting alone sipping coffee after the service, while congregants milled around visiting with each other. I’ve experienced this my self at churches I’ve been to over the years, as I’m sure many others have, and I know this can be intensely uncomfortable. Nor surprisingly, my son never went back to any church.
In The Reverend Tandi Roger’s sermon on July 17, we heard the words of The Reverend Gary Smith, in which he pointed out ways to stay a “small church.” One of those ways is to give a “cold shoulder to visitors.” We have already addressed this in OUUC’s new Ends statements, one of which states that we are a congregation “where people of all ages, identities, and circumstances are welcomed and connected in our loving community.” Welcoming and connecting–this is precisely the mission of our Hospitality Teams.
Newcomers may be seeking a spiritual home; they may, like my son, be looking for like-minded people; or they may simply be lonely or having a bad day. What a great feeling it to initiate a conversation with folks you don’t know and help them feel welcome. We don’t want anyone to walk away from OUUC feeling that no one cared enough to come over and introduce themselves. While being respectful of their wishes to engage in conversation or not, we can answer questions and say “Welcome!” By joining a Hospitality Team, we can make a difference in someone’s life on a beautiful – or rainy –Sunday morning.
An invitation to join our Hospitality Ministry teams. Monthly commitments are for one Sunday a month. If you can join one of our teams, please sign up in The Commons starting Sunday, August 28. Look for the sign-up board. Questions? Talk with Carol Williams, Bonnie Guyer Graham or Diana Finch.