It’s a delight to be having a Newcomers Night tonight. Quite a few ‘newbies’ have arrived at the Gathering recently. It’s a joy. Not too late to come tonight if you feel ‘new’. (7.30pm in the St Andrew’s Centre behind the Church.)
If you’re new to this list – welcome. It’s an ‘occasional thoughts’ contribution from me, then notices from this week’s order of service follow. Scroll down as short or as far as you like. People tell me it’s a good way to keep in touch with what’s going on.
Being new is a weird experience at times. Some like to bounce right in, expecting a full welcome and total embrace from the beginning and can be disappointed if they don’t get that. Others peep round the corner and wonder if they might fit or not. It’s good to be smiled at, and even exchange hellos – but for a while that’s enough.
We know, (some of us have been there too), that those who walk through the front doors on Sunday morning may never have been in a church before. Or, (and this might be worse!) have been to church a lot in the past, but walked out/gave up for different reasons some time ago. It can be an emotionally fraught time walking through the door of a church again for the first time in ages. We know “getting back on the horse” can be a delicate experience.
The funny thing is that those used to being here and relaxed in the community can’t always read the signals! Forgive us please if we bounce up to you when you want to be anonymous or ignore you if you want the full embrace. Or if we forget your name more than once – for some that’s the fault of ageing brains, nothing to do with how welcoming we feel inside!
There’s a book I haven’t read but I like its main concept – the five Love Languages (yes, does sound OTT doesn’t it). Apparently people show love in different ways – (1) some come right out and say it; (2) some give gifts to show their love, (that’s who the jewellers advertise to); (3) some serve the beloved (like going out to work to pay the mortgage, or making a cup of tea); (4) some like physically touching people – (hugs, a hand on the arm etc.,); (5) some like spending quality time with the other.
Maybe that applies to people welcoming others to a new space: some like to talk; some give you the gift of a St Andrew’s welcome pack; others offer to get you a cup of coffee or to take your empty cup; some shake your hand and perhaps touch you on the upper arm briefly; others arrange to spend quality time over coffee. We all do it differently and we might not choose a style which is not yours. Welcome anyway.
We are diverse in many hidden ways. We know we don’t have to agree with each other, but we do need to differ respectfully. Truly, all are welcome and in our various fallible human ways we try to show it.
Communion on Sunday is one way we welcome others. A new option has been tried and seems to work well, the central server will have a gluten free only option with gf crackers only with the wine and juice. Lunch after church will be at a café which someone will choose – listen out for the invitation at morning tea. I will be workshopping from 11.45am- 1pm with those wishing to look at forming their own Rhythm of Life. I’m ordering pizza to keep our blood sugar up so let me know if you haven’t already if you want to join in. (txt me at 027 321 4870).
Anyway, see you sometime and hopefully on Sunday!
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