Letter from a Churchwarden
Do you go to Church when you are on holiday?
I have been to Church on holiday before and when working abroad. One of my most memorable was in Mumbai, India where beggars lined the walkway into church, hoping for some Christian kindness to be shown to them. The church had, what can only be described as ‘bouncers’ on the door to make sure the beggars did not enter. It was a surreal experience. The people who genuinely needed God’s help were refused entry. I sat throughout feeling uncomfortable and guilty that I had not walked out, but my English manners wouldn’t allow me.
I understand that people may find it hard to go to Church on holiday – it can be an effort just to find a church open and a service time. Also, there is the worry of not quite knowing what the service pattern will be and if you will be welcomed or not. In general, I have found attending churches elsewhere very enriching and it always surprises me how similar the services are, even when attending a Catholic service - after getting to grips with sitting to sing and standing to pray. It genuinely helps me feel part of the world-wide Church.
St John’s recently took part in the Open Churches weekend and threw open our doors on a sunny weekend to the public – some visitors may have walked in to marvel at our beautiful church building and some because they are not confident enough to come to one of our services. Whatever the reason they are very welcome, and we appreciated their time with us. Let us strive to be a friendly church all year round – whether welcoming visitors for the first time or returning congregation. Let us be informative and help wherever we can to make visitors feel at ease. Most importantly ensuring that whatever their circumstances, they do not leave feeling that we had bouncers on our door!
Look forward to offering you a warm welcome on your next visit to one of our lovely, diverse churches within our benefice.
With best summer wishes