Thursday, April 14, 2011

Welcome and Fellowship

At church when a new family moves to our congregation, an announcement is made by the Bishop or his counselors from the pulpit asking the congregation to welcome and fellowship the new family or individual. The congregation is asked to vote by the raising of hands. By raising hands, the people commit to "are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God." (Source). This showing of hands also occurs when a person chooses to be baptized and join in the church.

My Mom shared a story with me about how someone really showed a commitment to the welcome and fellowship. A recent convert sat in the meeting and raised her hand when 12 new individuals names were read into the congregation. None of the people were there.

After the meeting ended, she went to the Bishop and asked for the addresses and phone numbers of the newly welcomed individuals. The Bishop didn't understand why she would want their names and addresses. She said that during the meeting she made a commitment to welcome and to fellowship. She didn't know how she would accomplish that without having a way to contact these new individuals. The Bishop gave the information.

During the week that followed this woman with her roommate contacted and visited each person. The next Sunday 6 of the 12 were there to be fellow-shipped and welcomed.

This woman's example speaks volumes. She literally sought out all who were to be welcomed. I know that this act of acceptance is not limited to church congregations. This friendship can be extended any where to anyone - neighbors, people at the grocery store, school mates, basically anyone that surrounds us. Christ invites all to come to Him. He uses us to follow through on His invitation.

The invitation follow through does not need to be visit to everyone's home. It can be a smile, a pat on the back, a wave, or at times a plate of cookies and a listening ear.

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Please go check out my guest post today at We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ...

5 comments:

Roger and LeAnn said...

I enjoyed visiting your blog today. I love your thoughts on fellowshipping. One time my husband and I went on vacation and sat on the back bench by the open door and not one member of the ward stopped to ask us who we were or shook our hands. This was just one ward in many others that we have attended during vacations that have been very friendly.
Thanks for a great post!
Vist my site sometime - Living Water @ http://lgwilliams.blogspot.com/

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Excellent points!

Sue said...

Boy, I'm impressed. What a great thing to do, and we can all take a lesson from her!

=)

Rachel said...

wow, I never thought about that before. It would truly be something if every new member was welcomed with such love and openness. I guess an invite to dinner just isn't enough then is it. Loved the cactus story too. Beautifully written.

The Best's said...

I love that example. It makes me want to be better, because I am so not that type