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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, June 8, 2012


In just over a week, our community will gather at fifteen different sites for the first ever Canadian National Conference.  Word about this event is spreading, and interest seems to be growing.  I have personally been contacted by church members who are not regular church participants and probably haven’t been to church in years, but who want to be part of the conference.  Interesting!

For those who have contacted me, the questions they ask include the following.
  • My membership is in XX congregation but I now live in YY.  Can I attend the conference there? 
  • Is my baptism enough to have allow me to register?  
In both cases, the answer is a resounding YES!

The interest on the part of members who have been baptized but who have not participated in the community for years has me thinking.  Oh, I’m not speculating about where they are likely to be on conference issues or how they are likely to vote; that is not what concerns me at all.  What I am wondering about is, what are the feelings such persons are likely to experience: nervousness or slight anxiousness?  Fear?  Will anyone remember them?  Will they know anyone there?  Will they be  made to feel uncomfortable or will they feel right at home?

Here is the point: some people are planning to come and participate in our community who have not done so in years!  How shall we welcome them?  Will we ignore them because we don't know who they are?  Will we treat them like some stranger in our midst?  Or will help them feel as welcome as the flowers of spring?  Like the wonderful father demonstrated in Jesus famous parable about the prodigal son, lets be deliberate about choosing the latter.

The following are a few suggestions to help us with this process.  The suggestions are good for any congregation on any day, but especially for National Conference host sites.
  •  Find a half dozen of the most friendly, caring, sensitive, outreaching, non-intrusive people we have, and ask them to be greeters.
  • Put one or two of these precious greeters in the parking lot, and keep them there until 10 or 15 minutes after the conference has begun.  Their job is to communicate welcome, help people know where to park, and answer any questions; that’s all.  Oh, and if its raining, they might also offer an umbrella.
  • Put at least two greeters at the front door.  Their task is to smile, communicate welcome and show people where to go to register.  After people have registered, the greeters can make sure they have the appropriate conference material and help direct them to the meeting room.
  • Put one or two greeters in the meeting room itself.  Their task is to usher, including to smile, communicate welcome, help people find a seat and feel comfortable.

Of course there are other things that can help, like signs showing where washrooms are located, a clean, well staffed and stocked nursery, etc, but perhaps those are subjects for another day.  For now, lets just concentrate on communicating to members who may come, “Welcome home!”

Posted by Carman

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