Nick’s Opening Words
Nick usually used the following statement as his opening words in a Sunday Service.
This is our church, our temple, our mosque, our kiva, our religious community and home, yours and mine. We welcome people from every heritage of faith. Come as you are, with your doubts as well as your convictions, with your hopes and your fears, with your failures and your aspirations. Here may no one be a stranger.
The familiarity, lilt, comprehensiveness, and warmth exuded when he said these words was truly a welcome back to our beloved church community each week. They no doubt helped most visitors also feel very welcome.
Nick would sometimes substitute one or more words in the first sentence as a means of adding notions of inclusiveness. For example, he might use “this is our longhouse” when he was talking about something related to the Iroquois or “this is our synagogue” when he felt we needed to be reminded of our Jewish colleagues.
A few years ago there was an effort for several months to conduct evening Sunday services, and the leaders adopted a slightly different version that also was well received as the opening words:
Here may no one be a stranger. Here, we hope that all who choose will feel a welcome – a welcome that says: Come as you are. Come with your doubts as well as your convictions, with your fears and your hopes, with your failures and your aspirations, with your sorrows and your joys.
An interesting side note.
When Jean Hoefer and Irene Baros-Johnson in 1988 wrote their 150 year history
of Unitarian presence in