Time for a season of welcome

Welcoming everyone!

The image of St Leonard’s church is iconic at a local level. The bell tower emerging from the hills, the blue clock, the situation of the church next to a village pub are just examples of the images conjured up in people’s minds when they’re asked to picture the church. 

Recently someone had a more figurative picture of the church.  It was a picture of St Leonard's emanating light which flowed from the church in swathes, into the hands of people around the church, before flowing onward to others.

This is a wonderful illustration of the impact that the church can have, as a means of sharing God’s love and glory.  Our literal ‘open’ church that now offers a welcome to passers by and visitors to Sandridge is also a metaphor for the openness we want to extend to others.  Through weddings, funerals, baptisms, craft church, festivals and other events, St Leonard’s has a wonderful opportunity to share something of the love and acceptance that God offers to everyone.

I feel that God is calling us to a “Season of Welcome” when we can put our energies into activities such as Name Label Sunday, a course on Welcome for the church congregation, establishing a team of welcomers to work alongside stewards on a Sunday morning and so on. 

I would love us to be inspired by the picture of St Leonard’s enveloped in light, and that bright, energetic, warming light flowing through us to others. I love the idea that God’s love and light is contagious, and that we can be vessels through which it is passed on.  

Please join me in praying for this season of welcome that others may be touched by the good news we have to share.

Rev Em Coley

This article first appeared in the May 2016 edition of the St Leonard's Parish Magazine