Many years ago, my husband, children and I tearfully said our goodbyes to the small southern town we called home and moved to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment industry. One thing we knew we would miss dearly was our church — Saint Philips Episcopal Church, which was so small that we were all more like a family than some families actually are. We took part in almost all aspects of church life there, from vestry to choir to teaching bible school to lay reading.
When the occasional visitor came calling, there was always such excitement in the air as they were greeted with loving and open arms and treated like royalty. Our years of involvement at Saint Philips were wonderful and enriching… so much so that as we moved, we knew that trying to find something equivalent out here would be nearly impossible.
Years and many trial visits to churches in the area later, I finally found All Saints Pasadena. I was so moved by the sermons, the church music, the beautiful architecture and other aspects of life here that I decided to stay. The one thing I missed was that old small-town feeling of being welcome — of being a part of a family and belonging. I needed help learning my way around All Saints but was too overwhelmed by the size of the membership to just jump in and start swimming. I was as intimidated as any small fish in such a big pond would be!
Ultimately, I ventured out and joined some groups and some classes and began to find friends and a sense of belonging, but not without voicing my concerns that learning to find your way around All Saints could be challenging for someone new. So when it was announced that a new ministry was being formed to help greet and welcome visitors, I thought to myself: “Hey Jamie… here’s your chance to stop groaning about the problem and start being part of the solution!”
Now on Sundays, I am humbled by the transformation I see a shy visitor’s face undergo when I or one of the other greeters walk up and say, “Hello” or “Welcome” or “Can I help you find what you might be looking for?” That transformation touches my heart and I am awed by the great mystery that makes me the one who is blessed by the moment.