Making our meeting a place of welcome for all

What might we do to make our meeting a place of welcome for all? How can we engage with those not currently involved with the meeting and address the needs of enquirers and new attenders more effectively?

Your comments are welcome.

This question is the first of a series that was posed in a workshop at Westminster Meeting on Monday 06/06/2011.

4 comments

  1. Jo Poole says:

    I hope the initiative to participate in London Open House welcomes many who may not otherwise cross our threshold. As this is just before Quaker Week, I would hope those interested in Quakerism would then participate in events soon after.

    Whilst welcoming is very important we must also remember that some newcomers are more comfortable observing from a distance, and will come forward with their questions and needs in the fullness of time. For me, the question is increasingly how we create a safe space where all who enter know they will not be judged.

  2. jezs says:

    I’m interested to know what we expect of our doorkeepers. Over the past couple of weeks I have done my best to welcome everyone who comes in while I’m ‘on the door’, but I haven’t done anything about what happens when people leave afterwards. Perhaps it would be helpful to say good bye to people as they leave and to touch in with people who are standing alone during refreshments.

  3. PennyM says:

    I think the idea of being a welcome safe space is important, and that once people have come in we need to be aware of how they would like to engage with us. If someone attends Meeting and then leaves straight away, a smile as they head out is as much as we can do. If they stay around for tea and coffee then that suggests a desire to be more engaged, and so talking to people who we don’t know at coffee, or who look alone, is important.

    The way we present ourselves also needs consideration, and I wonder if it would be useful to consider how the entrance way and library look to visitors? There are a lot of leaflets and notices and magazines which Friends may need/want, but is the balance right between the spaces being there for our purposes, and showing who we are and what is important to us?

  4. llcoffin says:

    This question seems a perennial one for Friends Meetings. As an American Quaker, I have encountered varying “welcomes,” ranging from being nearly ignored to talking with a half-dozen people over a wide variety of topics. Having visited Westminster Friends Meeting a year and a half ago, it was the coffee hour afterwards that helped “break” the ice. There, people came up to my husband and me; perhaps because we had introduced ourselves at the rise of Meeting as Americans, we found there to be a good deal of genuine interest at our attending.

    I think the real challenge lies with how to treat those who are not Quakers . . . and how do you know until you interact with them?!

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