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7 thoughts on “How to welcome new people to church – NOT!”

  1. Taylor Burton-Edwards

    Well, the bad vicar has a few points to make, doesn’t he.

    It is true that Christianity does not exist to ratify the “spirituality du jour” which is, actually, often not more substantial than some “cuts and pastes” from the Internet.

    It’s just that he doesn’t seem to know which room he’s in.

    The congregation’s worship space has been public space, in essence, since the late fourth century. And the congregational format of Christianity has been an essentially public one since about the sixth century. That means that while the congregation can introduce people to its core doctrine and ritual practices in that space, in the context of public worship, the sanctuary/worship space of the congregation isn’t where it can or will or should try to do much more. Being a public space, genuine hospitality to all should go without question.

    It’s for those who may be introduced in that space to the teaching and worship of the church that further teaching and invitation to discipleship via a caring small group– with its rigors in every way– may be a next step. But bring that stuff out here… well, that just shouldn’t be done.

    The role of vicar or rector or pastor in such cases is to extend hospitality, listening, graciousness, and invitation. That needn’t mean ratifying every foolishness one might come in with– but neither does it mean going after it like this.

    Peace in Christ,

    Taylor Burton-Edwards

  2. Bosco, Thanks for the shout out.

    For the record, while I am Catholic in most of my proclivities, I shun wearing a biretta. It seems so…Romish. So on the cooler Sundays of the year, you’ll find me outside the church on Sundays greeting people as they arrive in a Canterbury cap.

    That said, I hope I am more welcoming than the vicar in question.


  3. Oh, Bosco, I just rolled at this one…but that part about what he and the vestry thought while she was eating the biscuits…well, as a vestry member, I have to confess that I HAVE thought that on occasion! Uh…absolution?

  4. Scott, I have updated the post appropriately I hope in response to your comment – it is indeed high time that I got out my post on Millinerianism! I will try to do that this week.

    Kirkepiscatiod – thanks for the hat tip on your blog. As for e-absolution – the jury is out currently on its validity. I wrote about that previously – but there’s a problem with that part of my site currently 🙁

  5. I caught this clip first time round in the UK, it made me laugh a great deal, because I know of both kinds of vicars; the moustache wearing ill-mannered ones, as well as the bubbly colourful-jumpered ones.

    I think as Christians we can all too easily fall in to one of these categories and be maligned by the “neo-gentile” (apologies for my favourite buzz-word this week) majority. We must be welcoming, but not woolly, that’s a line that I am glad I do not have to define.

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