Special Welcome Mats

By Lynne Jacoby, Membership Development Coordinator

Years ago when my parent’s little Congregational church in Vermont was struggling to become a ‘Welcoming and Affirming Congregation’ my parents came down on different sides of the issue. My mom (who my wife used to point out was a fierce protector of her children) was disgusted the community even needed to discuss it. My dad, who is one of the most accepting people I know, wondered why a community that defined itself as welcoming to all, would choose to put out a special ‘welcome mat’ for one defined group.

I couldn’t think of one good logical reason such a community might do such a thing, but what I could tell my dad was that I needed that mat. I still do. Not so much around my sexuality these days, but there is almost always some worry I’ve got, around acceptance.

Luckily many of you have laid out all kinds of ‘mats’ for me this past month! From Jennifer coming in during her vacation, to you inviting me to your homes, out for breakfast, or into conversations of how this church has changed your life on my first day! But mostly it’s been the wide second smiles I’ve received when you learn I am the new Membership Development Coordinator. It’s like you’re thinking ‘Oh! We have been waiting for you!’

Yup! Feeling very lucky to have landed in this Milwaukee UU community but I am also wondering how do to share that luckiness? How do we create mats for all of us, and for each? How do we say in different ways

‘Oh! We have been waiting for you!’?

Because welcoming is less a reasoned or logical thing, I think, and more about a feeling we all just sometimes need.

 

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