If you attended our 9:00 worship service a couple of weeks ago, you might have noticed a large group of teenagers sitting near the front of the sanctuary. Or, you might have seen them in the hall after the service eating cupcakes and giggling with their friends. These delightful kids were from Evangelical United Church of Christ, a UCC church who brought a group of teenagers from St. Louis to Nashville to do mission work in our city. While they were in Nashville serving our city’s poor, the kids from Evangelical UCC spread their sleeping bags in Holy Trinity’s chapel and slept on our floor. It was our pleasure to serve them by giving them a place to stay!
I tell you that to tell you this…
If you spoke with any of these youth, you know that they were spellbound by their Sunday morning experience at Holy Trinity. In fact, this morning I got an email from their youth minister. He said:
“...I wanted to thank you again so much for your hospitality and welcome during our stay at HTCC. Our youth shared on Sunday about your church AS MUCH as about all the service work we did. Your efforts of welcome made THAT much of an impact. Acceptance was evident!”
I’ve always believed that it’s important for people to know what’s said about them behind their backs, and this lovely email demonstrates why. When people attend Holy Trinity, this is what they’re saying about you after they leave our parking lot: “acceptance was evident.”
Holy Trinity friends, thank you for making our church a place of extravagant welcome. Thank you for making it a place of welcome to all who have no church home, need strength, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe… to new visitors and to old friends… to grandparents, grandchildren, mothers, fathers, and single people… to people of all colors, cultures, and abilities… to people of all genders, sexual orientations, and political opinions… to both the old and the young… to believers and questioners, and also to questioning believers.
It’s because of you that people walk through our doors and realize that no matter who they are or where they are on their journey, our God welcomes them with open arms. Because you’re willing to sing in our choir, hold our doors open, chat with our guests, bring your kids, love each other openly, and create a place where ALL people are welcome to worship God, our community is able to experience the God who loves us ALL extravagantly.
And because of you, a group of teenagers in a suburb of St. Louis are now actively talking about what they can do to make their church a place where EVERYBODY feels welcomed.
So… bravo, Holy Trinity. Bravo.