M.E. Steelman • Children’s Ministry Coordinator

Gracie shares a favorite book with Pam Whitenack.

There is nothing more comforting than being greeted with a “Welcome Back!” smile, wave, hug or conversation.  Whether you last saw one another a day ago, a week ago, a month ago or two years ago, when you are greeted with warmth, energy and care, it feels good!

Over the next few months we will continue to “Welcome Back!” more of our congregation and “Welcome!” new visitors to Derry. 

I know our congregation will welcome everyone with genuine warmth and care, and hopefully a lot of grace. Each friend and visitor is joining us with a different worship background. Some may have been consistently participating through live streaming worship, while others may not have worshiped for a long time. No matter their experience, we want to help each person connect with the Derry Church family and feel supported and encouraged as they gather with us.

While this message probably sounds obvious, it is important for us to do a “self check” to be sure we are ready to say “Welcome Back!” What does a worship self check look like?

  • When saying hello, offer a friendly greeting and smile. Help each person feel truly welcomed to Derry Church.
  • When greeting a family with young children, be sure to talk with everyone. Children love to feel included.  
  • When talking to young children, resist the urge to reach out and touch. Many children have not interacted with large numbers of adults over the last few years. Instead, simply talk with the children.
  • When sitting near someone who is struggling to sit still and remain quiet, remind yourself that this may be the first time they are joining us for a worship service in quite a while. Sitting still in a pew for an extended period of time takes practice. Try to reserve judgment and, instead, offer them grace and encouragement.
  • If you don’t know a person, a couple or a family, take a moment to introduce yourself. If they are new to Derry, ask if they have any questions and encourage them to fill out an information card from the pew and place it in a collection box. This makes it easy for the staff to then reach out to our visitors.

The next few months will be exciting here at Derry Church as we welcome more friends to worship. For some, the return to in-person worship will be easy, but for others it will be more of a challenge. Our ability to offer support, patience, love, and encouragement during this time of transition will help them return to worship each week. I am hopeful that Derry Church can make this transition joyful to everyone by extending a wonderful “Welcome Back!” to all.