You’re invited

One year ago, the Reverend Felix Smith was inducted as Rector of St. Michael and All Angels, Lancing, West Sussex, England.

In preparation for his new ministry, especially welcoming people, he issued this invitation in the Net, the parish’s newsletter.

The Niagara Anglican reprints, with permission, the relevant portion of his invitation for your information and sharing …

The church’s aim is to remind people that they are invited to come to their church each and every Sunday, no matter who they are or what their background. In a sense, the church is saying “the Gospel message is amazing, dynamic, inspiring and exciting and we want you to join us in sharing it.”

The thing I’m most excited about, however, is demonstrating the church’s welcome to the whole village and extending the wonderful invitation of the Gospel to the community.

Therefore, I’d like to say to everyone ‘you’re invited’! You’re invited … to come and get to know your church at St. Michael and All Angels, to come and join us in sharing the Gospel.

Just to finish, a recent welcome notice from a church:

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, confused, filthy rich, comfortable, or dirt poor. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rake or could afford to lose a few pounds.

We welcome you if you can sing like Pavarotti or 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 prison. We don’t care if you’re more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury or haven’t been in church since little Jack’s christening.

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 keep-fit mums, football 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 “organised religion”.

We’ve been there too!

If you blew all your money on the horses, you’re welcome here. We offer a 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 and wound up here by mistake.

We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!

(Barbara McCallan, St. Cuthbert’s Oakville received the newsletter with the article from a cousin in Worthing, Sussex.)