While sitting at my desk in the church office, I received a phonecall from Nancy. She asked, “Did you see Cindy’s post on Facebook?” (Cindy is Nancy’s best friend from high school.) I told her I had not and immediately went to Cindy’s page to find what Nancy found so interesting. Here is what Cindy posted…

All are welcome here. But, we extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, lesbian, transgender, filthy rich, dirt poor, and yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, 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, and 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.

We endorse all people, but we make it a point not to promote any particular politician. If you need a church that does or a minister who screams and yells from the pulpit about how everybody who doesn’t believe as he believes (or she believes) is going to hell… well, you’re probably not going to like this church. Here, you can be Democrat, Republican, Independent… heck, even a Socialist. You’ll understand, we’re sort of struck with Jesus and, especially, his teachings. The way we figure it, if we follow his teachings, the world will be a happier and healthier place for everybody. Healthier and happier, too, for those not interested in religion, not even ours.

If you blew all your offering money last night at the dog track, tough luck for us. You’re still 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… In short, we welcome you!

Cindy had taken a picture of the church bulletin from Ocracoke United Methodist Church, located in Ocracoke, North Carolina. After some research, we discovered this is not original to Orcracoke United Methodist Church. Several churches post this in their bulletin or on their website.

I certainly concur with Nancy that this welcoming statement is absolutely wonderful. In fact, I may borrow it as well and print it in our bulletins. I truly believe this statement reflects the heart of Jesus. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are welcome here in God’s house.

On October 7th, we will celebrate World Communion. I love this day, as we join our brothers and sisters from around the world, as we gather at the Table celebrating the Eucharist. It is a most holy and sacred time.

I very much appreciate the Communion Liturgy which states…

This is not my house;
This is God’s house.
I cannot tell God
who is welcome and who is not.

This is not my table.
I do not sit at the head as host.
I cannot tell the Host who can sit here and who cannot.

This Is not my food on this sacred table.
I did not prepare it. It is not my blood, my body.
It is the very life of Christ laid out there.
I cannot tell Him, this One who constantly
ate with sinners and outcasts,
Who is worthy to partake of it and who is not.

The doors of God’s House are open to all who need shelter,
Who crave the fellowship and friendship of God,
And even to those who hate God
or cannot bring themselves to trust that
God exists or could care for them.
Anyone, everyone has a place at the table of Christ.

I love those words… anyone, everyone has a place at the table of Christ.

I pray you will join me as we open our doors, the table of Christ, and our hearts to all of our brothers and sisters as we feast at His Table on World Communion Sunday.

Hear again the closing words of Welcome: We welcome tourists, seekers, and doubters, bleeding hearts… and you!!!!!

Pastor Russel

Photo by Prayitno