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Radical Hospitality

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One of the expressions repeatedly made by visiting clergy before and after the Ordination Service was how welcoming and friendly our church is. One commented that ours was "... the most welcoming church experienced in a long time" - truly heart-warming words to hear. Inclusion and welcoming others into "our great Unitarian Universalist faith tradition...." and embracing the person next to us "in the pew" were recurring themes of the service. We don’t have pews of course, but the person in the chair next to you just might be a visitor, a stranger in search of the kind of faith community that draws us all together. The Reverend Aaron White, in his sermon, used the words "radical hospitality" as he underscored our need to make our faith tradition a "big tent." It is not a concept new to us, but as a reminder, radical hospitality means "out of the ordinary, even revolutionary, receiving someone... with revolutionary generosity."** That is what our Greeters who single out visitors and guide them to the Welcome Table aspire to do each Sunday. But they can’t do it alone. "Radical hospitality" is what we must all practice to insure that we are welcoming at all times, and especially on Sunday mornings when we have an increasing number of visitors coming to our services. Take a moment to say hello, to welcome them into our "beloved community." Who knows but that one such visitor or stranger may be among the next group of new members welcomed, or the group after that. Radical hospitality takes little practice. Its what makes ours the welcoming church experienced by guests at our historic Ordination service of Assistant Minister, The Reverend Nathan Andrew Ryan. It’s what we want to be at all times.

 

**Words in a sermon on "Radical Hospitality," by Marilyn J. Sewell on the UUA’s "WorshipWeb" at uua.org. Read it for inspiring examples of radical hospitality."

 

  • Is donating staple food items to our Food Cart a practice of "revolutionary generosity?" Maybe not, but our donations go a long way toward assisting the Baton Rouge Food Bank in its food ministry to those in need in our community. The Food Cart is normally in the patio area, but placing donations on a kitchen counter is fine if you enter the door to that area. And thanks for your donations - and generosity!

 

Becky Cureau, Outreach Director