These are some of the parishioners' feedback on the Recto's Musing "Communicating Welcome" Series:
Welcome, a two-way street?
“I have had the reverse experience — not often, but it always surprised me when it happened. New people exploring (and seeking, I am sure) who were furious that we were “too lax” “not strict enough” and who sometimes truly verged on anger that we were too flexible."
Roles or practices to be protected at all cost?
“What has become really obvious is that these roles are so fiercely protected that there is no room for anyone who has new ideas. There is no room for joy in the roles because they are so very serious… I also have to examine my own ways and how my defence of a new way may be offensive and hurtful to those who stand for the traditions that give them a sense of purpose and joy.”
How our personality and trauma affect the way we welcome:
“I am challenged around this area of welcome and hospitality because we cannot take our own personalities out of it. And we cannot remove our own trauma that affects our reactions to it either.”
From one visitor about Coffee Hour:
“I feel very comfortable visiting St Hilda's… When I attend a service…, I never want to go to the coffee room. I don't know why. I feel too visible maybe...I don't know what to say...I don't want to stand in a room holding a coffee and looking for someone to talk to.”
A perspective of a newer member:
“I find St Hilda's to be very welcoming overall. People are kind, open, etc. The only thing I think where it would be hard to feel welcomed in, is if one is not used to traditional Sunday services. I feel that so far access to St Hilda's has always been thru the gateway of Sunday services. From there one may learn of other sub-groups or get to know people. However, I continue to wonder about the seeker who doesn't relate to Sunday services.”
On welcoming young people:
“[It] has always been my most meaningful connection with churches in small groups and I think many people... might be interested in exploring their spirituality that way.”
On fostering belongingness:
“I think St Hilda's is a welcoming church, but I don't feel that I belong so I feel I am excused from welcoming others. This might not make sense but it does to me.”
Thank you so much for your feedback. Your comments will help us to better communicate welcome to those who are visiting us. For future feedback to Rector's Musing, you may try using the "comment" section of the website.