The church that welcomes everyone

Update: The church mentioned below is in Daytona Beach, Florida. Fr. Phil Egitto at Our Lady of Lourdes says he adapted this from text originally used at a Lutheran Church, where the pastor was happy to give him permission to reprint.

Jon Acuff, author of "Stuff Christians Like," is getting a lot of traction on his SCL blog today in reaction to this welcome message someone sent him, reportedly from the weekly bulletin of "Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community." I like the sentiment expressed here:

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo 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!

What do you think? How would this message go over in your church's Sunday bulletin?

Comments (8)

I've already copied it and read it to our priest, Fr. Bill Myrick and we will be making a sign to put on our bulletin board near some of the entrances ... we think it's great! Thinking of myself, as are many who may read this greeting ... "ahhh, thank you, they welcome me no matter!" And I thank Jesus that He does the same for me, just as I am, just where I am.

Be sure when you transcribe this, you correct the Spanish in the first graph. It should be "y no habla ingles" NOT "yo no habla ingles" (which would prove you don't speak Spanish, either). See the photo attached with the story at Acuff's blog.

John please sign your last name when you comment. Thanks ~ed.

How would it go over at my parish? Pretty well, I think. We're an Anglo-Catholic parish; we specialize in eccentrics. Thank God (otherwise, I'd have no place to go).

We can be of one thing. The local bishop will shut down this congregation and if he doesn't the Vatican will.
Tom Downs

We can be sure of one thing. The local bishop will shut down this congregation and if he doesn't the Vatican will.
Tom Downs

I did some googling. It appears that welcome has been circulating for a while. Here's something dated July 5, 2012 from a Catholic website:
" The following is taken from the pastor's homily from All Saints Lutheran Church in Aurora, Colorado. Fr. Tom Sweetser then heard a pastor using it in a homily at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in New Middletown, Ohio and has gone on to share it in his parish newsletter. Fr. Tom poses the challenge ..."

Also, there is a "Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community."

Here is the welcome that we use in print on the web, etc. Is well received here in Poughkeepsie.

Welcome to Christ Episcopal Church

At Christ Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie you will find a vibrant and growing community of individuals and families, on a journey together towards a more complete life with God.
We range in age from infant to those-of-more-mature-years.
We are single, in families, and partnered.
We are straight and gay.
We are looking for work, working nine-to-five, working more than one job, and recently retired.
We vote blue and we vote red.
We are traditional in our outlook towards liturgy and music, and we love to experiment in liturgy and music.
We are able-bodied, use walkers, ride skateboards and are in motorized wheelchairs.
Most especially, we are all God’s children.
We strive to always be a community that expresses welcome, compassion, and hospitality to all who enter our doors

Grace & Peace,

The Rev. Wm. Blake Rider, Rector

I love it. It's a complete statement of welcome. Let's all try to live up to this the next time the screaming baby in the back reminds us of a French ambulance siren or we get a whiff of BO from the guy in the pew in front of us.

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