Once more, with feeling…

Yesterday, Carla and I visited Shawnee Mission UU Church (SMUUCH) — the service, led by Rev. Thom Belote was on hospitality and welcoming.  I was impressed by the following on our visit to the church — 1) the membership and welcoming committee were on top of their game; in fact, I think that everyone there is on the lookout for anyone with a Visitor name-tag.  It felt like they had rehearsed what they were supposed to do when a visitor came, just as we used to rehearse fire drills until we got it right.  Even Rev. Thom was on top of this — as he walked about the sanctuary before the service started, he looked for the name tags and took a moment to introduce himself to visitors.   2) I liked very much how sunny the sanctuary area was.  It was nice to be able to look out the window at points during the service and see trees moving in the breezes.  During the meditation, I know we were supposed to close our eyes and meditate, but I found myself using the time to just look out on the trees — very restful.   3) I like the idea of “radical hospitality” mentioned by Rev. Thom during his sermon — he spoke of a friend of his who is an Episcopal minister.  On leaving divinity school, this friend’s first job was as an assistant minister in a large Episcopal church, and the job title was something like “Minister of Radical Hospitality.”  The idea that we should be hospitable is itself a welcome idea.  Though not openly hostile myself, I’m not sure that I’m particularly good at making people feel welcome — get me started on some way to help an individual and I think I do that as we work on our common project, but not first thing as people come in the door. 

It is unclear where Carla and I will end up following our semi-retirement from the hurley-burley at All Souls.  Perhaps, after the dust has settled, we’ll rejoin All Souls (we haven’t left yet — it’s more of a trial separation than a divorce).  It is possible that we’ll end up at SMUUCH, which is just about 1/2 mile further from our house than ASUUC.  I’m rather enjoying not having to be somewhere, and using the time to do some thinking and feeling.  Sometimes crowds of people confuse me.

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