It’s hard to go past a friendly smile greeting you before Sunday worship, or that warm cup of tea or coffee after service.
Isn’t that what makes our faith communities welcoming? Whether new faces or regulars, being made to feel welcome is how we connect as a community. And, if welcomers are the bricks, then post-worship conversation and coffee is the mortar.
Enter the hundreds of folks who put their hands up to help out each Sunday.
One such couple is Grace and Les Dodt, who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last month. The pair had spent most of their 20 years at their parish of St Pauls Townsville, in north Queensland, on greeting and morning tea rosters until COVID-19 restrictions interrupted worship services in 2020.
Though home-cooked goodies are currently off morning tea menus at some churches, that doesn’t stop Grace, 90, from baking at home, especially for her family. She and husband Les, 96, have a daughter, Kaylene, in Townsville, a son, Russell, who lives in Tasmania, six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Before moving to Townsville 20 years ago, Grace and Les ushered, baked and boiled kettles at another St Pauls congregation, in Toowoomba on Queensland’s Darling Downs. Grace also loved volunteering with The Good Samaritan op shop run by the local ladies guild. Then there was ladies guild, choir, flowers, baking and the cradle roll. Grace and Les have been on church rosters almost all of their married life. ‘I love serving God and my fellow man’, Grace shares.
Greeting and ushering have been Les’s favourite volunteer jobs. ‘I’ve liked welcoming strangers especially’, he says.
While they’re now starting to slow down and are no longer on the church roster, Les and Grace remain welcoming to all at St Pauls. ‘It is very important, as it makes people feel at home’, says Les.
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