Not to belabor one point above all others, but I did read something yesterday about being a welcoming church that I thought worth note. The Rev. Richard Laribee continues his sabbatical visits to other churches and most recently reported on Church of the Beloved in Charlotte, North Carolina. It caused my ears to prick up as Church of the Beloved was planted as a new church when I was in seminary studying church planting and so I followed that congregation by web on their wonderful website.
So I was not only pleased, but oddly proud (though I have no connection to the church other than following their launch from afar) that Laribee wrote,
Of all the congregations we have ever visited, of any denomination, anywhere in the world, Church of the Beloved struck as the most warm and most welcoming. During the course of the morning (before the service, after the service, at coffee hour, in the Christian education hour) we were greeted by all kinds of people who seemed to be delighted to meet us. Welcoming did not seem to be in any organized or coordinated, but seemed to be a central value of the congregation.The whole post on his visit is worth a read. If you are intrigued to read about other churches, a stop in at Ship of Fools Mystery Worshipper is always worth a look.
Interestingly, while not the word "welcoming" itself, "hospitality" is a value of King of Peace. One we hopefully live into as well as Church of the Beloved does.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church