What price tag would you put on communicating what you really mean to someone?
A week ago our office computer network was down and Karen was not able to access files in the main server. We tried troubleshooting ourselves but to no avail. Finally, we decided to call the computer technician, the one who first put the system together. What we thought was a simple glitch ended up requiring hours of our technician's time to get the computers "talking to each other again". Bottom line: we ended up with a hefty invoice.
While your wardens and I are working on how to better manage the cost of technical support in the future, I was struck by the notion that our inability to communicate effectively could rack up a hefty price too. That thought inspires me to start this multi-part series on “Communicating Welcome.”
One common theme I identified from my recent conversations with some of you is the disconnect between our understanding that St. Hilda's being a welcoming parish and our actual practice in welcoming new people. While everyone agrees that we offer a warm welcome to people visiting us, many have observed or personally experienced how our welcome abruptly ends when new people try to explore a deeper sense of belonging here at St. Hilda’s. Some people left feeling wounded, others had to fight their way to find their own place here.
Archbishop Melissa at the School of Parish Development talks about the Welcoming Ministry comprising four elements:
INVITE ---> GREET---> ORIENT---> INCORPORATE
To be a truly welcoming church, seekers and visitors need to FEEL welcome at each and every stage as they are gathered into the community of the beloved of Christ. How well do you think St. Hilda’s fairs (poor, okay, or good) in each of these categories? Tell me what you think either in person, by email, or on the Rector’s Musing post on St. Hilda’s facebook page. As a teaser, here are some of the upcoming themes in this series:
- Church of YES or NO
- A DIVERSITY rooted in RESPECT
- Praying Welcome