My wife, who has been able to come to the church a few times - she works at another church on Sunday mornings - has always been warmly received by the congregation, not surprisingly because I have also found people very friendly. But the very first time she came, she was a bit bewildered because there was no greeter at the door and no bulletins on hand - eventually she was told to look out "in that hall" for one. It was no one's fault really, but all our fault for not having a better system in place.

We now have a chance to correct all important first impression and to offer a not-too-hard opportunity for individuals, families of all configurations and all age groups, from 5 to 105 to serve our church. Starting in January, there will be a sign-up poster in Lund Hall for greeters, 2 sets, one at the door from the Welcome Center and one at the back of the church. Just sign up for a Sunday during the next six months and show up bit early.

Greeting is easy - a pleasant smile, a "Welcome to First Congregational Church," handing people a bulletin and saying, "Right this way - sit wherever you're comfortable." If there are children greeters, they can also say "Hi" and pass out a bulletin. If the people identify themselves as visitors, be sure to invite them for the fellowship time in Lund Hall after the service and give them a clue where it is.

If they have another need, such as how to find the lavatory, direct them. Also ask them to make themselves known to a pastor after the service.

We'll no doubt discover new and better ways to make people feel welcome as we go along, but this is at least a start. Let it be you (and perhaps your family too) who makes people feel good about coming to church on your watch.