“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by doing that some have entertained angels
without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)
The importance of the ministry of the Welcoming Elder is often underestimated. The Welcomer extends hospitality to each person who enters the worshiping community. In this brief exchange much is communicated. First impressions of the congregation are made in the moments when newcomers and visitors arrive for their initial experience of the congregation’s life. Those who are well established members of the congregation arrive in varying states of well-being. All are being welcomed into Christ’s church, beloved guests in the household of God’s kingdom come. Welcoming Elders are frontline agents of this holy welcome.
It is our intention that the ministry of welcoming can be undertaken by a wide variety of members of the congregation - men and women, children, youth and adults. We encourage Welcoming Elders to arrive at the Chapel early - no later than 10:10 am - and to stand or sit next to the small table at the door to the Chapel. Be sure that the printed orders of service are on the table along with a number of Bibles for those who may wish to make use of one.
As the congregation arrives at the Chapel focus your attention on each one who enters. A warm smile and eye contact along with a genuine welcome is extended to each person - child and adult. Offer a copy of the Order of Service to each person (some may wish to share). It is good to offer children their own copy of the order of service so that they, too, feel the full welcome of the congregation. Hymn books are kept in the book rack just inside the Chapel door. It is a good idea to keep copies of the hymn book on hand at the welcome table to hand out with each order of service. It is often wise to invite another person to assist with welcoming, particularly during the time when most are arriving (between 10:25 and 10:45 am). Remain at the welcome table until the gathering time and community announcements are coming to a close (at approximately 10:45 am).
It is the Welcoming Elder's responsibility to invite four people to act as Offering Elders during the service of worship. This may be done in advance of Sunday morning or it may be done as part of the ministry of welcoming on Sunday morning. It is good to invite a variety of people to undertake the ministry of receiving the offering. A brief outline of the Offering Elder's responsibility is available from the Worship Co-ordinator on Sunday morning.