Welcome Home

Weekly Reflection, Friday, May 14

By: Harry Baldwin, Senior Warden

Welcome Home – this greeting has a soothing ring to it. The announcement by David May of St. Mary’s returning to “in-person, indoor” services is welcome news. It has been over a year since we were able to worship in our beautiful church as a family. St. Mary’s will start out slowly and deliberately with the utmost safety protocol in place and with the goal of our church family being together again.

St. Mary’s is a friendly, welcoming parish – a comment that does not apply to all Episcopal churches. To be honest, some churches are perceived as cold and “cliquish.”

Patsy Simril and Barbara Tavenner worked diligently with the Welcomers Committee to make newcomers to St. Mary’s feel welcomed and appreciated. The coffee hour will not take place initially so the natural magnet of coffee and food will not be readily available. Masks will still be required for indoor services and recognizing others will continue to be a challenge. Elbow bumps and waves are not as fulfilling as a good ole handshake, but these new greetings are more than acceptable. Physical distancing is not as strict, but to be safe and cautious, we will limit the number of church service attendees and have pods for family groups. Eventually we will be sitting in the pews with some safety protocols. So how do we really “Welcome Home” our St. Mary’s parish family AND individuals new to our church.

In the spirit of sincerely greeting others, let me offer a couple of suggestions:

  • Wear your name tags and re-introduce yourself to others. It is understandable to draw a blank on the name of someone you have not seen in over a year AND who has on a mask.
  • Look around for those in our parish who are not necessarily in your circle of acquaintances. Speak to others and make new friends. Now is the time to introduce yourself to the person you have seen at St. Mary’s for 25 years but never knew their name. It is OK to admit you don’t know someone’s name. David May has given amnesty to us for not asking previously someone’s name. Do not waste another day.
  • Look around for people who looks new to St. Mary’s. Introduce yourself and welcome them. If they are new, ask them about themselves. Be bold and share the answer to a most important question – “Where are the restrooms?”
  • Bring a small pad of paper and a pen – ask them their name and write it down. Write your name on a sheet of paper and give it to them. Give them a call during the week or jot them a note telling them how happy you are to have met them. Share this contact with the clergy, a Vestry member, or the church office.
  • Ask yourself, “How would I want to be greeted or welcomed at St. Mary’s after a year’s absence or as a new person?” The Golden Rule has never applied more than it does now and with our re-gathering at St. Mary’s.

It is a perfect opportunity to show how friendly and hospitable St. Mary’s is. WELCOME HOME, all – those who were here for the first service with Holt Souder and those who will be here for the first time in May 2021. WELCOME HOME – Everyone.