September 15, 2023

Hospitality for All Ages

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our recent Invite Welcome Connect survey and participate in our summer hospitality series focused on welcoming newcomers. We’re still reviewing your suggestions, but we’ve already put a few of them in motion.


In the survey, many of you shared the importance of a warm welcome. The simple act of greeting the person next to you and introducing yourself can be transformative. This fall, we aim to create opportunities where there’s plenty of time for connection and fellowship.

On your way to Sunday School each week, we invite you to stop by Alfriend Hall for our enhanced coffee hour. We’re now brewing Red Eye Coffee, and last week our Invite Welcome Connect team rolled out new St. John’s mugs to enjoy during the “Coffee and Connection” hour. Each week, a different ministry group will be serving as your baristas. Please help them out by leaving your used mugs in the provided bins. We’d also love some help with this new ministry. If you can lend a hand on Sunday mornings (making and serving coffee, helping with cleanup, etc.) please contact David Campbell.


We have so many new and returning members, so please wear your parish name tag regularly for worship and at faith formation and fellowship events! If you don’t have one, or if you need a new nametag, please contact Deborah Dugger in the church office.


In the survey, you cited the importance of being welcoming to people of all ages, and we want our young children and their parents to know they are welcome and wanted in worship at St. John’s!

On the first Sunday of the program year, we debuted our “Joy and Wonder Station,” currently housed in the north transept. The shelves are filled with quiet imagination items (plastic animals, sewing cards, coloring books, etc.) so little ones can fill a bin as they arrive at church on Sunday mornings. By selecting their favorite items to take with them to the pew, children are given agency in their church morning. At the end of the service, bins can be left in the pews where St. John’s staff will collect them to be cleaned and sanitized.


Please help us welcome Jessica and Genesis, two new St. John’s staff members who will be greeting our youngest children weekly in the nursery. In addition to offering an engaging nursery experience during the 10 AM service, our nursery team will be sharing “Year of the Bible” activities and lessons with children who remain in this space during the Sunday School hour (11:30 AM to 12:30 PM). The Bible truly is God’s love story for all of humanity … and for parishioners of all ages at St. John’s!

The nursery is a beautiful and inviting space, conveniently located just off the courtyard. When it moved to this location in 2020, the walls of Cobb Nursery were decorated with playful murals painted by local artist and St. John’s parishioner Honey Hilliard. We want children to want to come and enjoy this space when you are at St. John’s for faith formation and worship. But, please know that your children are welcome in the Sanctuary too. We recently added a pair of rocking chairs in the nave and south transept to assist parents who are helping soothe our youngest worshippers.

Here’s a sentiment that came up this summer at our Sunday series on Christian Hospitality: Churches that nurture a common life among members can live more easily into the ability to offer hospitality to strangers. Hospitality must be taught and nurtured, learned, and practiced. As we put these new hospitality initiatives into practice this fall, we are broadening our sense of welcome to the church and forming deeper relationships with old and new members!

Thank you again for the wonderful feedback you shared on our newcomer survey. Stay tuned for more exciting enhancements as we work our way through your suggestions.

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