How to be a Greeter
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Thank you for serving St. Mary’s Episcopal Church as a Greeter! This is a very important ministry and in partnership with the Ushers you are responsible for the first impression people have when they walk through our doors on Sunday morning. The intent of these guidelines is to be clear about what it means to be a Greeter at St. Mary’s and to offer some helpful hints.
- All people are unique and are seeking different things from a church community. Some will enjoy being welcomed enthusiastically and may be immediately willing to jump into a conversation. Others will prefer to stay relatively anonymous and want to quietly check us out. These individuals will probably not want to stay for coffee hour. Use your best judgment when determining who is who. Use your intuition and common sense.
- One of the most common worries about Greeting duties is the fear of greeting a long time member as if they are at St. Mary’s for the first time. Don’t worry about that. We have all done it. Simply introduce yourself. Take your clues from other parishioners, the Rev. LeeAnne Watkins, and the confidence with which they enter the church.
- VERY IMORTANT: We understand that you might be anxious to get into the Sanctuary as well, but please remain by the front door until 10 minutes into the service to welcome any late arrivals. Usually the newest people are the latest, because they don’t know that it’s hard to get a parking spot.
BEFORE THE SERVICE:
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the service.
- Name Tags: As a Greeter please wear your nametag so it easy for people to identify you. Not all parishioners want to wear their nametags and that’s okay. If people need new nametags, there is a sign-up clipboard by the rack and people will have another made for them by the next Sunday.
- Doors: Open the doors for people when appropriate and always initiate friendly contact. In the summertime, open both front doors wide, and consider standing on the sidewalk to greet people.
- Traffic flow: Please take care not to block access through the doors, or up the stairs, or to the coat room. Probably the best place to stand is, in the winter, a few feet inside the front doors, and in the summer, halfway to the sidewalk. Since there are at least two of you, spread out if you can.
- Yes, we know you are happy to see your friends . . . . but please be especially attentive to those visiting whom you do not know, or whose faces you’ve seen only a few times, they are your priority.
- Show Them the Way: Show people the coat room and let them know that the sanctuary is up the stairs from the lobby. You may want to enlist help from current members who are passing by in accompanying visitors upstairs (the more smiles and words of welcome from many people, the better!). Enlist particular help from children in showing visiting children about the coloring clipboards, and stuffed toys and books.
- Children are Important: Please pay particular attention to children. Greet them first if possible! If asked, offer to help parents find the Nursery, and at the same time, let them know that children are always welcome in the Sanctuary during the service. This is a very touchy subject for many parents – some will take offense if their kids aren’t welcome in church and so an early mention of the nursery can be interpreted negatively. Others worry that their children will make too much noise and so are anxious to scope out the nursery first thing. Please be as sensitive as you can, and err on the side of welcoming children in the sanctuary. You could encourage them to sit closer to the front, so the children will be more engaged in what is going on.
- Who’s New?: This is the time to pay attention to new folks. Introduce yourself. If they give you a name, do your best to remember it (or at least their faces) because you will be seeing the same people on their way out and you will guide them to the guestbook on the podium in the narthex.
- Where to Sit: We suggest that Greeters sit in the back of the church on your duty days so that without disruption to the service you will be ready to bring the gifts to the Altar at the appropriate time.
DURING THE SERVICE:
- Bringing up the Gifts: When the Offertory song begins, station yourself in the center aisle at the back of the church to bring the gifts (bread and wine) to the altar. If there are children around, encourage them to participate with you by helping you carry the gifts. The Rev. Rex McKee will give you a nod to indicate it is time to walk the gifts to the altar.
- Return to Seat: You may return to your seat at the back of the church.
AFTER THE SERVICE:
- Receiving line: Depart the sanctuary just before the choir begins the recessional. You will now be in place to assist the Rev. LeeAnne Watkins greet people in the Narthex.
Of particular importance is how we connect with visitors and new comers
- Between your early identification and the Rev. Watkins’ signals, you will know who the first time visitors are.
- Invite them to sign our guestbook, and tell them that by doing so they will receive information about St. Mary’s and an invitation to coffee with the Rev. Watkins. For this reason, please do not stand directly in front of the guestbook, and make sure there is a pen available and there aren’t lots of papers hiding the book. It’s ok at this time to ask them how they first heard about St. Mary’s, that could give you something to talk about.
- Be certain to invite visitors into coffee hour. If they seem interested, take them into the St. Mary’s Room and introduce them to others. (This is why we need more than one Greeter at a time).
- Some newcomers may want to see the Nursery or Godly Playrooms.
- Some visitors will not want to stay for coffee hour. Smile and thank them for coming. You may want to enlist the help of parishioners in walking visitors out. This also gives them a chance to meet another new person.
- Once the line is finished, please go to coffee hour. Cast about to see if anyone is standing by themselves looking like they are feeling stupid. Also check to see if they are being talked to death and are looking for an escape from an over-eager coffee hour chatterer. Continue your hosting role until coffee hour is complete.
- Overall, your duty is to be a good host. Smile a lot. Say ‘Welcome’ a lot.
- We recommended you thank people for visiting Mary’s. Ask them to come back anytime. Let them know that they are always welcome.