welcome

First impressions

'If we “do” welcome well, those first impressions might lead visitors to stick around and become “one of us.”' (Image by StockSnap/Pixabay)

Confession: I once shooed a visitor away from “my” bench at church. (I was saving a spot for my husband.) Fortunately, the visitor stayed and I could apologize for my thoughtless act.

Equally welcome

'I pray that the church will wholeheartedly welcome every individual with open, gracious and caring arms and show the love of Jesus to each.' (Image by MetsikGarden/Pixabay)

The other day I hosted a diverse group of women from church: some single, some widowed, some married with kids, some married without kids, some in their 20s and some in their 80s. While sharing our joys and our struggles, we each honoured the unique life stories around the room and created a space for all to feel cared for and valued.

A ‘village’ in our home

Christina Barkman: “While it is certainly nice to sometimes have a quiet home—like these long winter evenings when the kids are all finally asleep and I can cuddle up with a good book—I love welcoming friends, family and a little extra chaos into my home.”

When our family lived in the Philippines from 2012 to 2018, we hosted our Peace Church community in our home every weekend and opened our doors to countless friends throughout the week.

An empty bowl

Photo by Kaylene Derksen

‘Soup and Pie’ by Manitoba artist Margruite Krahn was featured in the November 2015 issue of Anabaptist Witness that focussed on food issues. She cites the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as her inspiration. The work hangs at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg.

‘Food is a Human Right’ is the title of Filipino artist Bert Monterona’s painting that was featured in the November 2015 issue of Anabaptist Witness, which focussed on food issues. Inspiration for the work was Amos 5:11-12,14 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully.

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