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It’s a word which we all hope to hear. When we step through the doors of a church for the first time, we are wondering whether our presence will be noticed, whether someone will make us feel at home. The music may be grand, the preaching fine, the facility beautiful, but if we don’t feel welcome we’ll likely never return. It’s so simple!
“Welcome” is a simple word, but it reflects an important attitude of heart and mind. Hospitality is first a response of love and gratitude for God’s love and welcome to us! Showing hospitality to those who come through our doors is more than a matter of good manners or duty – it’s what Christ instructed us. "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me," Jesus taught his disciples (Matt. 18:5). Such hospitality was so important in the early church that even bishops were instructed to "sit on the ground" if a traveler showed up and there was no room for them. I’m no bishop (thanks be to God!) but I’d be glad to make room on the preacher’s bench if you, as a visitor, need room!
If you are thinking about visiting First Church, please know that whoever you are you are welcome here. Our hearts, our minds, our doors are always open. We attract people from north of Rockford to the east of Ada and past the boundaries of Caledonia because of our openness and our commitment to the city. We are often a place of hospitality and refuge to those not welcome elsewhere. We aren’t perfect, but we know that we are forgiven, and that we are God’s children, and that we need one another. We look forward to the day you pass through our open door!