Hospitality Steering Committee Recommendations
January 26, 2022
*Note: During our meetings together in the summer and fall of 2021, we were in dialogue with many friends and members of our church community. While we cannot possibly acknowledge all of our conversation partners in writing, we owe each person who supported our efforts a debt of gratitude.
Hospitality begins at our front doors. For early Christians, the practice of hospitality consisted of receiving a stranger into one’s home as an honored guest and offering them food, shelter, and protection. As followers of Jesus today, we are called upon to welcome one another just as Christ welcomes us. Hospitality is our embodied experience of community and care for one another as the Body of Christ.
While we associate certain key words and phrases like “fellowship” and “coffee hour” with hospitality, we also understand hospitality as encompassing so much more. The practice of hospitality both includes and goes beyond the serving of food. We believe a faithful and biblically-centered practice of hospitality should be regarded as no less than “nourishment for the soul.” Certainly, the practice of hospitality nourishes our bodies in the sharing of food and drink. For we remember Christ’s mandate for us to feed his flock. However, hospitality should also nourish our souls as well. For if rightly understood, hospitality is truly the expression of a vibrant and loving community of faith.
Here at Wayne Presbyterian Church, so many of our groups, committees, and members possess such profoundly evident gifts for hospitality. However, we believe that our most recent institutional understanding of hospitality has been generally undefined. Even our strongest and most beloved hospitality ministries have not always been fostered and supported in a way that is life-giving and sustainable. Practitioners of hospitality often find themselves feeling burdened to “do it all” and in turn, recipients of hospitality sometimes feel obligated to volunteer before they are ready.
When we asked ourselves what our congregational strengths are regarding the practice of hospitality, we identified three main areas:
1) We’re good at establishing beloved and lasting traditions. We are planners here at Wayne and we plan to continue to practice hospitality in the form of our many highly anticipated events, such as our annual church picnic.
2) We’re committed. We’re committed to the service and care of one another.
3) Above all else, we’re a community of love. Even when we disagree with one another about best practices, in our congregation we believe that: “Everything is done with love for love.”
To foster the gift of hospitality here at Wayne, we need to be true to who we are a church family. We envision hospitality as “welcoming the stranger,” as “nourishment for the soul,” and above all else, as the embodiment of the Gospel of God’s love. To nurture the practice ofhospitality in our congregation, there are several key programs, events, and initiatives our steering committee recommends. Our church-wide goal is to tell every child of God who walks through our doors: “Welcome! We are glad you are here!”
First Priority: Discipleship Ministries
1) Welcoming presence in the Connector during Coffee Hour
2) Follow-up calls with persons who have visited the church more than once
3) Help Rev. Katy organize and teach New Member Classes
Second Priority: Small Group Ministries
As Covid Restrictions Allow: Dinners, Events, and Fellowship
In order to launch (and in some cases, relaunch) the above programs, Associate Pastor for Congregational Life Rev. Katy Shevel will need Session and congregational support, as well as a strong team of dedicated volunteer leaders to organize and sustain these programs.
The Hospitality Task Force recommends the following from Session for immediate action:
1) The identification of a small team of Elders and Deacons (in addition to the Community Fellowship Elders) who have a special interest in launching these new programs.
2) The small team of Elders and Deacons will work with Katy to recruit interested lay leaders in the church to help organize, structure, and launch these new programs in Spring of 2022 starting with the Discipleship Ministries as first priority and then the Small Group Ministries as second priority.
Additionally, the Hospitality Task Force recommends the following from Session:
1) The drafting of new procedures and protocols for the serving and handling of food on church premises and for church-related events.
2) Committees working in hospitality ministries would like more transparency with their respective budgets and resources (i.e. kitchen supplies, serving utensils, etc.).
Fall Theme 2022-2023: Next fall, the theme(s) of hospitality and community will form the vision for our congregational life and program calendar. Pastoral and program staff are beginning to plan/discern upcoming roll-out of the programmatic theme for 2022-2023.
January 28, 2022
December 30, 2021