St. Paul’s Welcome Task Force

Last fall, Fr. Eric asked a group of St. Paulites to form a Welcome Task Force, to organize ways to invite first-time visitors to come back and to bring them into our parish family.

Since at every service Eric invites newcomers to fill out the welcome cards on the backs of the pews, our first job was to update the cards. The group decided what to include, then Joanne Knudson created the attractive new cards, on which the word “Welcome” can be seen from quite a distance Since the cards are either put in the collection plates or had their QR codes scanned, Lynn Carroll took charge of developing a process to quickly get the collected names and information onto a spreadsheet so members of the group can call newcomers within a week of their visit, and so they are welcomed quickly, their information can go into the directory and they can receive Happenings if they want.

Because we started using this process before the Christmas season, we found we had quite a number of newcomers to call after the holiday services and after the special services since then. The responses have been very encouraging!

At our earliest meetings we brainstormed ideas for other ways of welcoming new folks. Frankie Sims and Don and Donna McShane had excellent ideas that had been used at their former churches – taking flowers or fresh bread to newcomers? having informal gatherings with current parishioners? Melissa and Bill Fikioris had suggestions to help families feel welcome and return to St. Paul’s, and Linda Boggs and Stewart Graham contributed ideas based on things St. Paul’s did in the past.

We’ve decided to start having greeters stationed on the Labyrinth after church services, so that the clergy can refer newcomers to the greeters for more information, for instance about ministries in which they might be interested. Becky Southwell has joined us recently and is interested in being a greeter since she has so much experience as an usher. We’re also going to start having relatively small, informal suppers at our homes, probably quarterly, so that the new folks who come can have a chance to meet and talk with Eric and we can all get to know them a bit. Eventually we’ll probably have bigger, all-parish events at the Rectory or the Parish Hall. We are working on designing and producing a welcome pamphlet or small packet of pamphlets with more information about St. Paul’s and its ministries, which we would give or send to all newcomers soon after their first visit.

If you’re interested in supporting the work of the Welcome Task Force and working on any of these projects, feel free to contact me at We’d love to have more welcomers!

Yours faithfully, Louise Thompson