Whats Happening Header 3
September 9, 2018: The Spiritual Discipline of Hospitality

by Father Jadon


“Hospitality is in All Souls’ DNA.”  I’ve heard that comment, or some version of it, more times than I can count.  It’s a point of pride here at All Souls.  From the oft quoted line from our founding rector about this being a church “for all souls” to our current mission statement, which says that we aim to be “a Christ-centered sanctuary where a diverse community worships and serves,” there is a real sense that this is intended to be a place of welcome and hospitality for anyone and everyone. But what, do you think, does that really mean? 

Modern usage of the word hospitality often focuses on the offering of food or a resting place and the customs and etiquette of doing that “well.” Indeed, the line on our church budget named “hospitality” is where we charge the costs of napkins, and coffee for coffee hour, and other kinds of kitchen supplies. But it’s not a particularly large budget and, strangely enough for a community that prides itself on its hospitality, it struggles to cover the costs while, at the same time, the calendar where people sign-up to host our primary offerings of hospitality—Sunday morning breakfast and coffee hour—is usually rather blank. Surely, then, this is not how we express the welcome and hospitality that is at the center of our very identity?  If not, then how?

Chevalier Louis de Jaucourt describes hospitality in the famous French Encyclopédie of enlightenment thought as the virtue of a great soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity. A verse from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews (13:2) is probably the most often cited Bible verse about hospitality: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Both of these emphasize the idea that true hospitality is measured by the manner in which we relate to those we don’t know who find their way into our midst. Training ourselves to truly welcome and care for the “strangers” among us (guests, visitors, newcomers . . . refugees, immigrants, etc.), rather than focus the intention of our hospitality on our friends, challenges us and enhances our lives in unexpected ways, readying us to better identify and embrace the ultimate stranger: God.

So, as summer ends and more of us return more regularly to this home for all souls, let us recommit ourselves to the spiritual discipline of hospitality. Say hello to your friends, and then find someone you don’t know and offer something more than a smile and a handshake. Heck, sign up to host breakfast or coffee hour—not as THE hospitality that we offer, but as icons that point to the DNA of deeper, more soulful relationship.

Last Published: September 6, 2018 11:36 AM
Weekly e-newsletter


Click the image above to receive our weekly newsletter via e-mail

Parish Calendar
Using Our Facility

Click the image below to learn about reserving space at All Souls.

Front of Church-B&W line

Empowered by Extend, a church software solution from