My summer blogging break is over!
Hands down! Without a doubt! And who could argue with me? St. Paul’s Church has been, for as long as I've known, a welcoming congregation. Travelers dropping in on us for a brief look or for worship enjoy their time with us. Concert goers think of this building as one of the finest places to hear good music on PEI. People searching for a place of worship find the Holy Spirit alive and active amongst us. Even if they don’t make this community their home they still speak well of their time with us. We have mastered the art of welcoming.
Now it’s time for another challenge. Now it’s time to become an inviting community. An angler with a good fishing hole may never share the spot with his best friends, but a Christian shares the good news with friend, foe and stranger. Hospitality after all is not limited to being welcoming it is also about inviting.
Last winter someone told me that they had a friend who was thinking about attending St. Paul’s Church. I was asked, “When is Back to Church Sunday? I will invite them then.” I said, “Every Sunday is back to Church Sunday.” We certainly don’t need to wait for just one Sunday to invite people to Church. And we’re not just inviting them to a building, or a worship service, or a sermon; we are inviting them into a relationship with the divine, with God.
The whole month of September is Back to Church Month. We can invite people any Sunday we want. We welcome and invite, but the big question is: to what are we inviting people? On September 15 we will have Bishop Ron Cutler with us and we will join with other congregations after the 10:00 a.m. service for a barbeque on our lawn. It will be loads of fun. But we are so much more than that: we are about a high quality of worship; involving children, youth and families; social justice and; helping people develop a sense of belonging to God’s community. Please, do not keep this fishing hole a secret.