It doesn’t happen very often but every now and then, and usually more then than now, one happens across a church welcome sign that does not reinforce something of what is completely embarrassing about being a church person and which even goes some way towards bearing witness to the divine hospitality itself. This sign from the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community is one such example:
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, y no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.
If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!
That’s wonderful, Jason. I’m adapting it for a URC in Swansea — e.g., “sing like Katherine Jenkins” and “more Reformed than John Calvin” — and using it for tomorrow’s Call to Worship.
its “y no habla Ingles”…not “yo no habla Ingles”
:) you’re welcome. great post by the way and thank you for sharing.
Wonderful invitation – an inspiration to all Christians to remember how to be hospitable and welcoming.
Thank you Jason – may I use this in a church newsletter (with acknowledgments of course)?
You’re welcome Jillian. It’s not ‘my’ sign, but I can’t imagine whoever its author was not being happy with you using it (so long as you’re not trying to make a buck out of it). So go for it! Hospitality is to be shared, after all.
A wonderful witness in itself. non-judgemental, compassionate, and loving.
Geoff Bingham would approve, I’m sure.
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