I’m sitting at the front of the church; maybe I’m folding bulletins for Sunday; maybe I’m trying to learn a bit about the stained glass windows; maybe I’m just reading a book.
But really what I am doing is waiting for someone to notice that the doors to All Saints’ Church are open. And someone always does.
A woman rushes past me barely acknowledging my words of welcome, finds a pew kneels down and bows her head. She stays like that for what seems like a long time. She gives me a smile on the way out and I can feel that some of her tension has ebbed away.
Two amiable young men approach tentatively and ask if they can look around. I say, “of course” and supply what little information that I have about the architecture. We have a lively discussion about the Tiffany window. Then they take a long walk around the perimeter, leaving with a promise to return some Sunday.
A woman comes in following a doctor’s appointment across the street, where she has heard some bad news. After a few minutes of talk it becomes clear that this calls for more than I have to offer so, with her permission, I fetch clergy. A positive pastoral session ensues.
A mother, daughter and granddaughter walk in smiling. They are in town for the day and Mom wants to show the other two where she was baptized.
A group of friends stop by the door, peering towards the altar. I invite them in and they begin chatting. One of the friends has been visiting from New Zealand and will be heading for his return flight in half an hour. This is the last tourist sight of the trip. I give my little talk about the building and they take a jolly tour. The New Zealander finishes by buying an All Saints' tee shirt, and heading outside to find a cab to the airport.
In between I read or fold bulletins or simply enjoy the peace and beauty of our dear church.
It’s different every time but they always come and they often express surprise and gratitude at finding a church that is open mid-week.
It seems a very simple ministry. I’ve never stayed much longer than two or three hours. But each time I’ve felt as though I’ve touched a life or two, in a small way. Each time I’ve had the great pleasure of welcoming strangers into God’s House.
We would love to keep the doors of the church open as often as possible! If you have a few hours during the week to lend to this ministry, email Julia!