01 Jul Smile Please – July 2016
As we are new to Walton, we are doing a number of things for the first time: finding a new hairdresser, going to the local garden centre, going to the tennis club. I can’t say these are particularly the sort of things that would make one feel nervous doing them for the first time, but there are still things that we want to do in advance to make it easier. Like ‘googling’ the directions, or finding someone who has been before to find out what we should expect. Once there, it is not always easy to find where the entrance is and which door to use. Seeing someone else who knows where they are going is very comforting, and a welcoming smile is priceless!
Do we ever think about how difficult it is for people who haven’t been to church before? For 900 years, people have been coming to worship at St Mary’s church, and some of us may have been attending church for many years, and yet it is not easy for a person who has not been to church before to simply walk in. We are giving ourselves a challenge at St Mary’s and St John’s to be Outward Looking and Welcoming In. It is a good challenge to consider how we can look not just inwards, but outwards, encouraging people to come to the church. We can ask ourselves how helpful and welcoming our buildings, publicity and people are. We are having new photographs taken to improve the web-site and noticeboards. Look at this lovely picture of the staff team! There are many more things we could do. Of course, the beauty of church is really not about the building, it is about meeting with Jesus in that place and worshipping the God who loves us and has filled our lives with meaning and purpose and peace. That is the really good news. If we really want other people to meet with God too, are there ways we could make it easier for them? It is nice to be part of a club where we know lots of people, but we should bear in mind that the church is the only club that exists for the benefit of those who are not yet members! Statistics show that more people come to church following a personal invitation than for any other reason. Summer is a great time to chat to our neighbours over a glass of something. And why not invite them to church with you? Join us in the challenge to become more outward looking, so we can welcome more people in to our churches this summer… and don’t forget to smile, please!
Cathy and Jonny
Two Vicars – who should I go to?
If you’re wondering whether to go to Jonny or Cathy, of course you’re welcome to go to either. This little list, however, might give you some guidance for particular issues as they divide responsibilities in the Parish between them:
Jonny is the ‘go-to’ person for: administration and finance, buildings, outreach and community links, world mission, weddings, baptisms, new people and the fringe.
Cathy is the ‘go-to’ person for: discipleship, teaching, training, leadership development, home groups, strategy, communications, children, youth and schools.