Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The other Sunday I had the Sunday "off" from the Country Parish to go the The Stone Church in the City as part of a requirement I see urban ministry. The city is in a county of a couple hundred thousand people, so in the pantheon of cities, not large. But it is in the corridor between Baltimore and New York and has changed immeasurably over the years. Lots of drug trafficking and influx of people, often transient. The church used to be a neighborhood church, but now most people live "out" and come in.
The church has a new pastor and is evaluating how they can best provide ministry where they are- they have specifically and overwhelmingly rejected flight to the suburbs. They enmeshed in an intentional visioning process and are open to many avenues that other similar congregations would not take on. I pray they discern their path- they have great facilities, an endowment, eager pastor and..
And they have - the Super Greeters.
When I entered, I was greeted by an eager, but not pushy, older gentleman. He introduced himself, determined I was visiting, asked me to sign the visitor book, showed me to a seat, made his way to shake my hand during sharing of the peace with his wife in tow. Gave me a coffee mug, magnet and pen, and invited me to fellowship. When he learned I have a home congregation, encouraged me to consider their church, my home whenever I might be in the area.
And today, two weeks later, a card in the mail from The Greeters, telling me they were blessed by my presence, hope I found the word of the Lord sustaining in my time with them, wished me peace and come back anytime.
If this enthusiasm can translate beyond the doors and into the community in evangelism and mission, there is great hope for the future. What a blessing to be in the midst of someone with the true gift of hospitality.