It’s not that we are not a warm and welcoming church. In fact, most folks cite this as one of the many gifts of our congregation - warm and welcoming. It’s not that we don’t know how to put out a good spread. Our coffee hours are legendary with our young people. As overheard last Sunday, “cake with sprinkles and quiche”! What happens is that we naturally gravitate to the people that we know. We see someone and remember a little tidbit that we forgot to tell them or we never did ask them about their trip or we need to remind them about an upcoming meeting, etc. In all of this, sometimes we forget about the newcomers standing off to the side.
I’m not suggesting that we install a buddy bench at coffee hour, but I am suggesting that we take the time out to invite someone down to coffee hour Break away from our friends and meet someone new Include someone who looks like they could use the buddy bench!
Last spring, my mother and I visited a UCC church in Sarasota. Before we’d even left our pew, a lovely lady invited us to coffee hour. On the way there, she inquired about from where we were visiting. Once at coffee hour, she brought over two people who had connections to the Cape. My mother asked about an adult offering that they had announced in worship. One of those folks went and grabbed the facilitator of that study and introduced her to us. So by the time we left, my mother had met 5 members of the First Congregaional Church of Sarasota and had the courage to attend the adult study that Wednesday evening.
So to quote Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without even knowing it.” And Peter, “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” Let’s all encourage one another to offer extravagant hospitality to all who walk through our doors.