Are there other ways to minister to members and visitors on Sunday mornings than to be in the liturgy? There are at least two ministries on Sunday morning that are in public but not in the liturgy. Those ministries encompass ushering and greeting, essential ways to be hospitable.
In the Bible, issues of grace and tension both exist around hospitality, especially to strangers, but not always. This summer our Lectionary Year C had us listening to the story of Mary and Martha of Bethany and their reception of Jesus in their home. Martha complains to Jesus that Mary is not helping with the serving of Jesus and his disciples. The story has other deeper issues but there on its face is the deep commitment in first century Palestine to welcoming and ministering to the guest.
In our church we have established two ministries which specifically address the issue of welcoming our members and visitors. The first ministry is composed of Greeters. You will see them in front of the church wearing green aprons. There ministry is to identify visitors who may need direction to pews, help in using our order of service, locating our restrooms, finding a way for the rector and IWC (Invite*Welcome*Connect) group to follow up with them on connecting to St. Francis. Ministers of the Greeters work closely with IWC to get newcomers and returning members connected.
The second, and somewhat more formal group are the Ushers. These members take over where Greeters leave off and direct members who know there way around to their pews, distributing Orders of Service, distributing alms basins (collection plates), the presenting gifts of the people before communion, and directing the congregation for reception of the bread and wine.
These outside the liturgy ministers are essential to an atmosphere of community and connection that out church is known for. In the case of Greeters, Kathy Anderson has been our facilitator, and in the case of the Ushers, Mike Ray has been their leader. If you are called to the ministry of hospitality in either of these two groups, or possibly both, contact the rector, David Lucey, at firstname.lastname@example.org and (703)759-2082, ext. 102, or the Parish Administrator, Lynn Fallon at email@example.com and (703)759-2082, ext. 101.