Living the Theme: Invitation and Welcome

Hearts on stringInvitation and Welcome

“True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person.”

–Kathleen Norriss

 

Goal: Cultivate a culture of radical hospitality and invitation that recognizes our deep connection to all creation.

The values of welcome and invitation are closely related to our first and second principles – each person is important and be kind in all you do, but they also help build a fair and peaceful world by meeting people where they are and asking what they need to feel included.

Invitation is both external and internal. Spaces get prepared when we welcome someone into our home or community. Our hearts also need to be prepared to be open to new ideas and stories. We start the new church year remembering to open our hearts to the new people who come through our doors. Extend a warm welcome to newcomers as well as old friends. Remember what it can feel like to be a visitor in a new place.

Congregational Life:

  • Consider inviting someone you know to church. Make sure you prepare them for what they might find at our congregation. Tell them the routine and what to expect.
  • Sign up to bring treats or make coffee for hospitality this year
  • Leave an empty chair or two at tables during fellowship hour or meetings to be welcoming to those seeking a place
  • Sit closer to the front or move into the middle of rows so newcomers can easily find a place to sit. Better yet, help them find a place to sit beside you
  • Show a new family where to find classrooms or restrooms or where to sign in for RE

Taking it Home:

  • Encourage your children to say hello to new children in school, offer to sit together at lunch or show them around
  • You may do the same at work – share lunch with a new co-worker or extend an invitation to an end of summer BBQ
  • Begin a practice of a monthly potluck with friends, always leaving room for a newcomer to join
  • Remember a smile goes a long way
  • Create a hospitality chart for your home and fill it in with examples of extending hospitality or invitation to others. You can find an example to follow at http://meaningfulmama.com/2013/07/hospitality-chart-teaching-hospitality-to-kids.html

Going Beyond:

  • Consider who is not represented in your current circle of friends and contemplate that absence. Take steps to cross the “borders” that are challenging for you and practice broader inclusivity.

Our RE Stories for the theme:

John Murray and the Winds of Change” from Creating Home, Tapestry of Faith, UUA

“The Preacher, the Farmer, and the Little Church that Waited” from UU&Me, Betsy Hill Williams, Ed.

“John Murray Comes to America” from A Lamp in Every Corner, Janeen K. Grohsmeyer

It Could Be Worse” from Creating Home, Tapestry of Faith, UUA

A Calabash of Poi” from In the Path of the Trade Winds, Mrs. Cora Wells Thorpe

Mullah Nasruddin Feeds His Coat” adapted from a Middle Eastern Islamic folk tale