Vicars’ Blog – July 2018 – More or less Welcome?

More or less Welcome?

Exams are mostly over and the summer term is drawing to a close. We have been blessed with some lovely sunshine in June and we hope it willl continue right through the summer months. We enjoy a break in routine over the summer with more time for being outdoors, seeing people and catching up on some reading and more time with God.

We are delighted to welcome the Oehring family to Walton-on-Thames. Alex’s Ordination on 1st July marks the start of his three year training here at St Mary and St John. We look forward to getting to know him and his wife Katy and children Charlotte, Rosanna and Iona in the months to come. Their introductory letter was in the June edition of this “prayer and events” publication. We are grateful that they have made the journey all the way from Durham to join us.


How do we rate our welcome?

Over 70 people have been participating in the Everybody Welcome course during June and rating our church on every aspect of Welcome from noticeboards and web site, to disabled access to our buildings, to the quality of coffee and biscuits, to the warmth of the community of people we are who worship here. The newly formed Welcome Group will be assessing our findings and this data will give the PCC a clear idea of the areas we need to work on. In the first week, we were asked to name the people we know who don’t currently come to church who might come to an event or service at church if we asked them. Some of us were shocked to find how few people we could write down. We can do something about that right now without waiting for a PCC decision. How can we intentionally develop friendships and invite those people to join us in this wonderful community of people we call the church? Some people are just waiting for someone to ask them. The summer is a great time to invite neighbours to a glass of something or a Barbecue and find out what they believe and whether they would like to know more about God. You don’t have to know all the answers and if they want to ask lots of questions there’s a new Alpha course starting in a September. We have been so blessed by God, let’s not keep that to ourselves, but share it with our friends and neighbours. The autumn has lots of opportunities for inviting people to things at church: there’s Harvest, Remembrance, there’s a quiz and fund-raising events coming up like a concert and maybe an abseil down the Tower. Watch this space! So let’s be ready!

We hope you have a sunny summer and know God’s blessing and are able to share that blessing with your neighbours and friends.


Yours, Jonny and Cathy