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  • The Rev. Barbara Ballenger

Rector’s Note: From charism of welcome to Community Rally Day and Open House-7.27.23

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Back in March, we named the gift of welcome as one of our parish’s unique charisms -- the gifts God has placed among us that are meant for other people to find and benefit from. We saw that gift in action in “togetherness, inclusion, accessibility, warmth, kindness, diversity, friendliness, affirmation, enthusiasm, invitation, generous hearts, fellowship, hospitality, community, respect, authenticity and vulnerability, experiences that are family-friendly and non-judgmental.”


This program year we are planning some unique ways to send that charism deep into our Glenside community, as well as practice it in programs and worship.


A new Welcome Team

This Summer, Audrey Kipphut is revitalizing the Welcome Team to make sure that people who visit St. Peter’s are not only greeted warmly but are remembered and included in a way that says: “we’d like to know you better and be a place you want to return to again and again.” If you’d like to assist with that work, the informational meeting has a new date of Sunday, Aug. 6, in the library after worship. Contact Audrey for more information at atajkipphut@verizon.net.


A new day of welcome

I’m particularly excited about the Community Rally Day and Open House that will take the place of our typical Rally Day celebration on Sunday, Sept. 10. For many parishes, Rally Day is a day of homecoming when the members return from their summer vacations and the program year starts up again. It’s often a day that turns inward to parish life and the mechanisms that keep it well-oiled and vibrant.


This year, Rally Day will take an outward focus as we open our doors to our neighbors to strengthen our friendships, introduce our ministries, and celebrate our partners and tenants. We’ll start with worship at 10 am, followed at noon by activities inside and outside our church buildings. Families can enjoy a bouncy house, performances by Rooted Tree, concessions and more. Our partners will introduce their outreaches and ministries. Raffle tickets for fun items can be purchased with cash or canned goods for the Food Pantry. It will be a little bit parish festival and a little bit rock and roll.


There are lots of ways for parishioners of all ages to be involved before and during the event. You can sign up now using this form.


A personal invitation to our neighbors

But how will our neighbors know about this wonderful event if they don’t get our parish newsletter or hear the announcements on Sunday? Among other things, we’re going to extend an in-person invitation.


Following Mary Rivera’s successful model for personally inviting our neighbors to our Easter Egg Hunt and Rummage Sale last spring, we will send volunteers out into the neighborhoods around St. Peter’s after the service on Sunday, August 27, for a Community Walk of Prayer and Invitation. We’ll hand-deliver Community Rally Day invitations to our neighbors and write down any prayer intentions they would like us to pray for throughout the year. We’ll have an orientation for walkers after worship on August 20. You can sign up for the Community Walk here.


But wait, we’ve never done this before, what if…. It’s true. This is brand spanking new. But here are the components of the event that are very familiar to St. Peters: togetherness, inclusion, accessibility, warmth, kindness, diversity, friendliness, affirmation, enthusiasm, invitation, generous hearts, fellowship, hospitality, community, respect, authenticity and vulnerability, experiences that are family-friendly and non-judgmental.


Bring your experience with these charisms, and the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.

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