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Guests in our Midst

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. - Romans 15:7

Christmas is a time full of traditions at home and within the community. Seeing members and guests gather for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Ascension is a great joy. Our collective welcome is part of sharing God’s love as the Body of Christ.

For several reasons, knowing whether someone is a visitor or a member can be challenging. Creating a welcoming experience for all is a way we practice evangelism. St. Benedict took Paul's letter to the Romans (above 15:7) further when he wrote, "Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ." I invite you to consider our guests this way. Christmas Eve is traditionally one of our largest services, so it's an excellent time to live into this practice. If you're unsure about someone new, I invite you to consider using phrases like, “I don’t think we’ve met before,” rather than, “Are you new here?. Furthermore, a friendly smile can mean a lot as we gather in the Nave. We can also welcome others by sliding in to create more space in the pew. Lastly, being mindful of our neighbors as the service progresses can also help: if they look unsure about which book to use, a little friendly guidance can go a long way!

The Peace is another natural point in the service to extend a greeting or answer guests’  questions as we move to communion. It is easy to focus on our own experience of worship; offering this encouragement can help us be hospitable to all who gather at Ascension this Christmas. Indeed, these practices should be a part of our gathering each week. I look forward to our time together as we worship and celebrate the Incarnation of Christ!


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