Dean Letter: Newcomers

Hello St. Paul’s,

Since we reopened our doors in April, and even (virtually) during the pandemic, we have seen a steady influx of visitors and potential new parishioners at the cathedral. We try to be systematic in keeping track of newcomers, thanking them for visiting and making sure they are invited to key events. Our Realm membership database is very helpful with its Pathways feature.

Susan Jester, Judy MacDonald, and Gabriel Arregui are the staff members maintaining the system, which tracks people from the first time they make a donation or write in the guest book, through welcome emails and letters, inquirers’ classes, newcomer brunches, all the way to active member status. If we are fortunate enough to obtain a mailing address I write and mail a personal note on one of our beautiful cards that feature Cathedral photographs taken by Susan Forsburg.

The very first step towards membership is when a guest walks into the Cathedral courtyard for the first time. That first impression is critical, and our Greeter ministry provides the face of St. Paul’s for those initial moments. During the pandemic we lost most of our Greeter team, and we need to rebuild it. If you are willing to offer a friendly welcome to cathedral visitors on Sunday mornings, please let Susan or team leader Pat Kreder know, and they will sign you up.

We will be scheduling a newcomer welcome event in the next few weeks, and in the fall we will offer a liturgical installation of new members, for those who are ready to make a commitment to our cathedral family. This is a great time to invite a friend or neighbor who you think might be looking for a faith community. Bring them to church; make sure they sign the guest book; introduce them to a few people; and sit with them through their first couple of worship services, to help them with our Episcopal liturgy.

If you happen to see someone on a Sunday morning who looks like they aren’t sure what to do, please take the initiative in welcoming them and offering to help. The worst that can happen is that they might say they are longtime members, in which case you have just made a friend. The more different contacts or “touches” a visitor receives, the more likely they are to decide to join the community. It’s up to all of us to share in our ministry of welcome.

See you on Sunday!

Your sister in Christ,

Are you new to the Cathedral? Click here for more information about St. Paul’s!

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