Ready, steady, welcome
With Spring imminent and the tourist system started, you may wish to, if you haven’t already, consider getting your church ready for visitors. Don’t forget welcoming is an important mission opportunity.
Things you may wish to consider are:
Is your church clean and tidy?
Is your church cluttered? Having the church untidy and/or cluttered may leave the wrong impression of your church to visitors.
Is your signage up to date?
Have you considered placing a sign near the entrance to show visitors are welcome?
Are your gates, boundary walls, hedges and noticeboards well maintained?
Do noticeboards contain up-todate information?
Is your church guide up to date, and do you have enough copies for the forthcoming season?
Or if you have embraced modern technology, is your website up to date, can information be easily found and downloaded? Do you have a special guide for children? Don’t forget this is also an opportunity to display information about Christian beliefs, baptism and weddings.
Do you have a visitors’ book?
Feedback is always helpful.
If you can provide disabled access, are the instructions for assisted access clearly displayed?
Many visitors rely on toilets being open and accessible. Therefore, if you have them please ensure that they are open, clean, tidy and available for use.
Are you considering offering refreshments?
If so, it is essential that everything is kept fresh, easily accessible and safe to use. Don’t forget many visitors also have dogs.
Having a designated prayer area with invitations to pray.
Churchyards are often ideal for quiet prayer and meditation. Have you therefore considered having a place where visitors can rest and reflect?
How you ask for donations, and when.
The visitor experience is enhanced by first seeing a welcome sign and guides on entry but is diminished by first seeing a sign saying how much it costs to keep the church open. Consider having a donation box notice on the way out to the effect: “We hope you have enjoyed your visit to this Church. If you would like to help us to maintain it your gifts will be warmly and gratefully received”
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The Church of England’s Parish Safeguarding Handbook (available at www.DofN.org/safeguardinghandbook) which all parishes and clergy are required to comply with, states that parishes must “ensure that safeguarding arrangements are clearly visible on the front page of the parish website”.More
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A mission project that involves a building
During the early part of last summer, I drove over to Blakeney to hear a workshop led by Dr Nigel Walter who, by profession, is not only an architect but also a theologian.More