Monday, August 08, 2022


One of the changes I made in my last two parish posts was very subtle, and I doubt if it was noticed or has lasted. It was certainly never commented upon. They were both places where, on arrival, I learned that the habit of the service leader on a Sunday was to say 'Good morning everyone' and then wait for a reply. 

Now, there is a way of making it clear, although you need some timing skills, that you expect a reply. If you don't have those skills the response will be a bit hit and miss and you will not be sure if the congregation is with you. At this point comedy value can be extracted by doing the pantomime thing of saying 'There's nobody here. I'd better try again.' Any children in the congregation will now shout back, at minimum.

For an example of expecting a reply when you have no communication skills try the Liz Truss cheese speech (I found it by googling that word string, so popular it has become).

So I always begin services with:

'Good morning and welcome to <name> church. If you are a visitor, newcomer or just passing though it is great to have you with us.' No reply required.

I thought of this because I now attend a church where each of the first three people to stand up front tends to say good morning, although few are looking for a reply when they do it. The service leader says good morning and welcomes the notice-giver who says good morning who quite often then introduces a second notice-giver who then says good morning and it is not unknown for further good mornings to be issued by the lesson reader and the preacher. One service leader also regularly includes some weather-based commentary and yesterday some how-to-behave-in-the sun advice. Amazingly it is not a place where people are often late yet we usually don't start the service within ten minutes of the advertised start time. At my last parish 25% of the congregation arrived after the welcome.

The thing I love most of all is that I am now retired and this is not my problem and does not annoy me. It's a local church full of local people being normal. What's not to like? Good morning.

1 comment:

Rich said...

I have sometimes wondered if it's worth saying "good morning, my name is (whatever)...." etc, even if you haven't spotted anybody new before you start.
Anyway.....good morning.