Come to church, you are all welcome!

I came across this article yesterday via Twitter, it’s from the Telegraph. Got to admit I only know what it says in the article so I won’t be commenting specifically on this Vicar or his church, but just in a more general senseā€¦

This kind of attitude infuriates me. The church is continually accused of being judgemental and here it is being reinforced in the national press. If we as the church don’t want people to think we’re judgemental, then let’s not be judgemental. Every time someone steps foot into a church it’s an opportunity to show them Gods love. It might be the only opportunity we get to share that with each person who comes in. So let’s make the most of it…

Many, many people only attend church at Christmas – but I would say, at least that’s once a year not zero times a year. And on top of that labelling people as hypocrites for attending church once a year is pretty rich when many churches don’t bother to reach out to those same people at all, let alone once a year. If your church is full at Christmas and not during the rest of the year then what does that tell you? 
Many people only attend church for weddings and funerals – is that hypocritical too? What about those who want their funerals/weddings in church – do we turn them away because they only come once a year? As a church we have a message to share with people, a people who often do not want to hear it. And they will be even less likely to want to hear it, or even be open to it if they think that they are not welcome in our churches.

I love the Church of England and I will always defend it but I do also get so frustrated with it and with this kind of attitude. The Church of England that I love is vast and broad, it is loving and open. It is non judgemental and loves all people. It welcomes everyone who steps over the threshold no matter who they are or where they are from, or whether they have been to the church 1000 times or zero.

If you want to come to church this Christmas for your annual visit, you have every right to come and feel welcomed. Please come and sing the carols with gusto, please come and comment on the organ playing (or in our case guitar playing), please come and say hello to people who haven’t seen since last years Christmas service, please come and then run away to the pub afterwards, it’s all fine, we’ll just be delighted to see you and to celebrate with you. Please don’t be put off by a few grumpy individuals, I assure you the church welcomes you, we welcome you and most of all Jesus welcomes you…

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