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The Message: Hospitality as Service, Part 1

by Father Jadon


Two Sundays ago in my sermon I mentioned a little plaque that hangs by the garage door of my grandfather’s house. I think it has probably hung there since the house was built forty some years ago. It says, “back door guests are always best.” It’s a sweet and heart warming sentiment, and it’s always given me a warm feeling as I’ve come and gone not through the more impressive, formal, front entrance but through the familiar, friendly, BACK door. 

Our back door, here at All Souls, is an icon of hospitality.  It was built to help make our building and our church family easier to access and more welcoming. I like the fact that our back door is now a rather impressive entrance. It sort of takes “back door guests are always best” to a whole other level, pointing, as an icon should, to deeper truths.  But now that we have a new, accessible, back door, how might we make its meaning increasingly more a part of our work and mission? We talk a lot about wanting to be a church that serves.  This week and next in our 10 a.m. adult forum we will be exploring the idea of “Hospitality as Service.” I think the world is hungry for genuine, soulful hospitality. How might we extend and deepen the ways we offer it?

A year ago a team began working as an “innovation hub” to make use of a $20,000 grant aimed at experimenting with new kinds of outreach to young adults.* The team spent almost a year meeting and researching and interviewing and using design thinking.  It occurred to us that the answer might be as close as our own fancy new back door. Just outside of it is an apartment building that houses 200 college interns who move to our neighborhood each and every semester. Down the street are several more buildings like this. So we designed a way to try to connect with them on Sunday evenings . . . not to make them new members or increase our worship attendance, but simply to offer them hospitality.  Of course there are other ways to offer hospitality as service, and we look forward to exploring those, too.  But it seems we might as well begin with those who are quite literally at our own back door! Would you join in this new endeavor? Jadon+


Intern Dinners  . . . Offer hospitality and a home-cooked Sunday night dinner to college students who call our neighborhood home while they are serving as interns in DC. This is an opportunity for us to live into the idea of hospitality as an act of service. To join a dinner service team, contact Jeff Wells at jeffreyraywells[at]me.com.

Last Published: September 20, 2018 12:36 PM
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