Welcome Places

Welcome Places

I saw something the other day, posted on a friend’s facebook page. It not only caught my attention, but it also made me smile and think at the same time. It is the welcome sign at the Coventry Cathedral in England. The Cathedral, also known as St Michael's Cathedral, is the seat of the Bishop of Coventry and the Diocese of Coventry, in Coventry, West Midlands, England. The city of Coventry has had three cathedrals. The first was St Mary's, a monastic building, only a few ruins of which remain. The second was St Michael's, a 14th-century Gothic church, later designated cathedral, that remains a ruined shell after its bombing during the Second World War. The third is the new St Michael's Cathedral, built after the destruction of the former. The welcome sign:

“We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, confused, filthy rich, comfortable, or dirt poor.

“We extend a special welcome to wailing babies and excited toddlers.

“We welcome you whether you can sing like Pavarotti or just growl quietly to yourself. You’re welcome here if you’re ‘just browsing,’ just woken up or just got out of prison. We don’t care if you’re more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury, or haven’t been to church since Christmas ten years ago.

“We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome keep-fit mums, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, and junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems, are down in the dumps or don’t like ‘organized religion.’ (We’re not that keen on it either!)

“We offer a welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or are here because granny is visiting and wanted to come to the Cathedral.

“We welcome those who are inked, pierced, both or neither. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down their throat as kids or got lost in the city centre and wound up here by mistake. We welcome pilgrims, tourists, seekers, doubters…and, YOU! With kind permission of Coventry Cathedral

Some things to smile about and some things to really think about…just how welcoming are churches, or is our congregation? How serious is the church (are we) about serving the community inside the walls, in the neighborhood, down the road, or across the pond?

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