Many will remember that back in January we held a newcomer/visitor forum. All are welcome at Holy Cross and we wanted input to make sure we truly were welcoming visitors, including newcomers, and caring for current parishioners who we hadn’t seen in a while. We divided into three teams with specific goals.
Our first team was “First Impressions.” How welcoming was our entryway and what information could we give to visitors? Thanks to Becky, Marian and Rene, we now have a very pretty white table in the entry space which serves as our Welcome table. We have goody bags which contain not only information about Holy Cross but one of our very own Holy Cross pens! Please feel free to take a bag or hand one to a visitor. We have a new professionally printed Welcome card, perforated so that visitors can fill out the information we would like to have and still detach the other side of the card to take home with information about Holy Cross. We designed a new process for name tags. Everyone who leaves behind a hand-written name tag will have a printed name tag ready for their next visit. We put a “smiley face” sticker on the name tag holder which lets the rest of the congregation know that they are new and would appreciate being included in conversations at coffee hour. We asked Amanda to provide music in our song books so that visitors could follow the service and you will notice that at the front of our song books we now have service music numbered from “S1.” Finally, you will have noticed that the coffee hour setup has changed. The coffee and goodies are now in the middle of the room, creating a better flow for people leaving the service and more chance for conversation around the individual tables. We have floral arrangements and even coffee flavorings! Starbucks has nothing on us!!!! Thanks to Jonathon for all he does!
Our second team “What’s Next” concentrated on people who returned. How could we help them feel part of Holy Cross? We believe everyone at Holy Cross should be involved in welcoming newcomers and we hope that everyone is looking for the smiley faces, inviting people to coffee hour and making sure they are included in conversation. If we have contact information, Ada invites them to the next appetizer supper club so that they can meet more of us in a social setting. We also strive to invite them personally to our special events such as the Oyster Roast. We do believe there should be a way to provide our time and talent sign-up sheets and pledge cards to those who feel ready to become more of a part of the Holy Cross family during the year rather than having them wait for the fall stewardship drive. We are working on some ideas for that! Thanks to Harold for his input and ideas.
Our third team “Whatever happened to?” identifies parishioners who we haven’t seen in a while. So far this year, members of the team coordinated by Linda have identified over 30 people we were concerned about. Father Jerry (and the team as appropriate) reaches out to these individuals to see whether Holy Cross can help them in any way. If you are concerned about anyone please contact Linda Lashley.
As you can see, we are working to improve our welcome but we still have a way to go. Perhaps most importantly, we need to improve the newcomer information on the website. We welcome any input and new ideas and any offers of help.