Do you remember the first time you came to St Nicholas? It might have been years, even decades ago or maybe it was just a few weeks ago but there would have come a time when you walked through the doors for the first time. I wonder if you remember how you were welcomed or received as you came into St Nick’s? The welcome we give first time visitors can be crucial as they weigh up perhaps are we the sort of church that they would like to come back to – or even join on a regular basis. In my church-going experience, I can remember very clearly that it was key individuals who talked to me or who got me a coffee after the service who made all the difference – and they weren’t clergy ! I mention the importance of welcoming visitors because someone – a visitor – said to me on Sunday that this was their third time at St Nicholas and they felt very welcomed and they thought we were a friendly bunch – which is great to hear!
The whole welcoming experience is of course more than a warm smile and a friendly greeting (important though these are); it is also about making our building welcoming and hospitable, fit indeed for the twenty-first century. Which is what we’re trying to do with our Development Appeal – to build new toilet facilities for example and improve the lighting amongst other things. You would be amazed how many visitors for a wedding or a funeral have travelled a long way, and one of their first question is “Where is the loo?” Well, we’re looking forward in the future to being able to direct them in the direction of what is now the choir vestry rather than over the road to St Denys Cottage.
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me”. MT 25: 35
With every blessing,