Welcome Ministry - The Meet & Greet Team
Welcome Prayer for our Church
O God, make the door of this church wide enough to receive all who need human love and fellowship, and narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife. Make it’s threshold smooth enough to not be a stumbling block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the tempter’s power. Make the doors of this church the gateway to your eternal kingdom. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, inspire me to be welcoming to all I meet, especially those I find challenging. Each day may I continue to breathe your love and compassion to every person, through every encounter. I am grateful for the moment when I recognized your presence in the people I encountered and ask your forgiveness for the times I judged more readily than I loved. Please continue to bless me so that I might go out and be a blessing to others. May I live with awareness and radiate the face of love, your holy face, to all whose day intersects with mine.
The History of the Church Welcome Ministry
The Welcoming Ministry with its’ Meet & Greet team members of today have descended from a long line of people of God who have gone before them. Their ministry is deeply rooted in Scriptures and tradition. The author of the Book of Chronicles, a book coming to us from the third century before Christ, pays particular attention to the part played by the 'religious orders' of this time, not only the priests and Levites but the lesser orders of cantor and door keeping. These last, who may have numbered hundreds, loomed large in Jerusalem's population at the time and are the progenitors of today’s Meat & Greet team. They comprised the guild of gatekeepers, who had their assigned task "the guarding of the threshold of the tent, just as their fathers had guarded the entrance of the encampment of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 9:19). (From The Ministry of Ushers by Gregory F. Smith)
St Paul’s instruction to the Romans was to ‘welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you’ (Rom 15:7). In the recent history of our church, we seem to have lost our welcoming mission. The ministry of greeters is a relatively new role for Catholics. Pre-Vatican ll editions of the Roman missal contain no mention of lay greeters. The words hospitality and greeter are not found in the ‘Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy’. The general instruction of the Roman Missal lists among the liturgical ministers ‘those who, in some places, meet the faithful at the church entrance, lead them to appropriate places, and direct processions,’ No name is given to this ministry, nor is it described in any further detail’.
Ever since Paul Vl, popes have written about the need for ‘New Evangelization’ – the call to re-evangelize those people who have previously heard the message of Christ but for a variety of reasons, have grown lack lustre in the practice of their faith.
In 2012 the ‘new evangelization’ was the theme of the world Synod of Bishops. In the Synod’s closing document the Bishops wrote, ‘we must form welcoming communities in which all outcasts find a home, concrete experiences of communion which attract the disenchanted glance of contemporary humanity with the ardent force of love.’ The most basic element of this new evangelization is to create more welcoming communities.
A Liturgical Ministry
The welcoming ministry forms part of the liturgical ministries. To understand the roles of the meet & greet team members, one has to look at some of the qualities required:
- It is a ministry to people
- It is a ministry to the community
- It requires kindness, reverence and dependability
- It requires accenting the positive
When people come to church, they experience not only the service, but the people associated with the church. We want the experience to be warm and welcoming. Greeters at mass are part of that experience. They communicate a sense of belonging to the parishioners and are an important extension of the church and our Catholic family.
Pope Francis says we are called to be a ‘church which goes forth….who takes the first step….who gets involved by word and deed….supportive, standing by the people every step of the way’.
Responsibilities of Greeters at Mass
- Make all people coming to mass feel welcome – old and new parishioners, and visitors.
- Assist new parishioners with registration. Ensuring that they receive the welcome pack, fill in the Parish registration forms and that the new parishioner and family get an appointment with Father Robert through the parish office.
- All new parishioners should be contacted by a greeter within the first week after coming to Constantia Catholic church and make a welcoming home visit to the new family.
- Greeters should make a point of getting to know everyone individually - by name, including that of their spouses and their children.
- Greeters should make those coming to mass aware of all the forms that are available at the back of the church for subscribing to the parish weekly email, catechism registration, becoming part of a ministry, getting onto a prayer list, etc.
- Greeters should help people in need – the elderly, frail, disabled, etc.
- After mass begins, greeters should sit near the back of the church so as they can take care of late arrivals and show them the empty seats available.
- Ensure that extra chairs are provided, when needed.
- Greeters should know mass etiquette, where to find all amenities, and be able to answer any queries.
- Greeters are there to answer any questions. Those queries not of a general nature, should be referred to the Parish office 021 794 5192 or the PPC portfolio holder – Gabi Steenkamp 082 774 3555 / 021 712 7702.
- Every Greeter must attend the Child Safeguarding Policy training.
NOTICES for meet and greet team members
Come and join the team. This is a wonderful ministry where your small contribution makes a huge difference. It is also not too time consuming as you only have to get to your usual mass 20 minutes before to greet everyone as they come into mass.
We have one or two short social teas a year, and full training takes place on a regular basis.
You will also get a comprehensive booklet with all the information you need to know.
If you are interested in joining our meet and greet team, please contact the Parish Office at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone 021 794 5185 or Gabi Steenkamp on 082 774 3555 or 021 712 7702.