Sign seen

I’m currently on holiday and so spending quite a lot of time going in and out of churches. (What else do you think I would do on holiday?)

In one of the many churches I’ve visited, I caught sight of this.

Welcome notice



  1. Peter says

    Reformed Presbyterian Church?

  2. There were 104 candles at the high altar – I counted them. Not any kind of Presbyterian.

    • Peter says

      What’s your opinion (Regardless of what the church’s dogma is) on whether communion should only be received only by confirmed people?

      • In the Scottish Episcopal Church there is no requirement that you have to be confirmed in order to receive communion. Baptism is regarded as full sacramental initiation into the life of the church.
        I don’t think it is particularly helpful for confirmation (which is very important to some Christians and completely unimportant and irrelevant to others) to be linked directly with receiving communion.

      • kennedy fraser says

        Kelvin says:
        I don’t think it is particularly helpful for confirmation … to be linked directly with receiving communion.

        … or indeed a range of other roles and activities within the SEC.

  3. Wonderful 🙂 Isn’t it the sort of thing we’d have at St Mary’s as well….although currently worded differently.
    And might it be something you’d want to put on the big noticeboard outside the Cathedral on the GW Road too?

  4. Russell Goulbourne says

    You know you’re going to have to tell us where this is… 🙂

  5. I think this is a great sign for any church whatever denomination. I wish my local church could take steps to be more inclusive. They are almost there.

  6. Rosemary Hannah says

    I think however I would say ‘Jesus bids you welcome, and we, too, welcome you.’ I think that is a little less like ‘loving you for Jesus’ sake. I’m kind-of picky. I like being just loved. I don’t find it helpful to be reminded that I may not be that lovable.

  7. Rosemary Hannah says

    I think too, I would want to welcome all, whether they seek Christ or not. Theologically, it is Christ who seeks them. ‘All are welcome here’. Then I might let the smaller print go in as it does.

  8. When you’re up against it you might need to resort to signs like this but I wonder how far a welcome can be communicated through a sign. Welcomes are more usually a feeling or general good vibes, in and around a place. Sometimes the least welcoming places are those that insist on their welcoming-nature most strongly. More say it than demonstrate it.

  9. Ps. It would be interesting to know, apart from the sign, how you felt in this place more generally.

    • Well, it is a place that I have a great affection for as I was once a part of the congregation at a time when I was trying my vocation. Yesterday’s was an extremely beautiful service and it is one of the great liturgical spaces of the world.
      Notwithstanding all that, no-one spoke to me afterwards…

  10. As a sideline, I was also interested in the choice of font. It had clearly been thought about and such things need to be thought about.

  11. An encouraging 8.5/10 for meaning well.

    (The missing score is partly a double-negative feeling, partly the gap where one wonders on what grounds they will discriminate, partly a wondering if the small-print couldn’t be redacted further.)

  12. 1. Nice font. Is it used throughout the church’s signage, publications etc, or do they pic’n’mix?
    2. I’m with Stew on the gulf between what’s claimed and the actual offering.

  13. I love it. It would definitely make me feel at ease going into a new church with a sign like that prominently displayed.

  14. Bro David says

    I think it a right fine message. I would hope that the welcome to communion is not interpreted as communion for any and all, unbaptized or not.

    • Bro David says

      Or perhaps that should read baptized or not.

    • Bro David says

      “No-one asked for baptismal certificates on the way in.”

      No, but I think that the sign should make it explicit that the invitation to communion expects that one is a baptized person. I believe that it could be worded properly to extend the invitation, state the expectation, but also not offend. The open invitation is to baptism, not communion.

  15. I like it.
    “Jesus bids you welcome” – a warm homecoming indeed.

  16. Is there a way in which it could be seen as a warning for prospective worshippers? Sort of setting out a stall firmly? Just asking …

  17. Having too just been on holiday I am less convinced than ever that signs and statements have any meaning.
    In a congregation of 20 where I stood out like a sore thumb not only was I not welcomed by the priest, I was actively ignored. I had to undergo the priest-in-charge deciding it was appropriate to tell both the congregation and the unknown visitor why the bishop was wrong, why stuff from the diocese should just be ignored, as part of the announcements at the start of the service. While during the sermon I was inflicted with the SEC being side swiped for not being the CoE. Not to mention the fact that I think you would probably have had to be either a cleric or a member of the congregation to follow just what was going on with the liturgy.
    It said all welcome, but had I been visiting with a view to joining rather than just passing through I wouldn’t have returned.
    On the other hand the congregation; who had arrived between my arrival and the start of the service; where warm and genuinely pleased to see me and hoped I might visit again – that is highly unlikely.
    It begs the question, just what is welcome in a church context. Had it been a social gathering I would have felt welcome enough, but for a service I didn’t.

  18. Robin says

    > In the Scottish Episcopal Church there is no requirement that you have to be confirmed in order to receive communion. Baptism is regarded as full sacramental initiation into the life of the church.

    That’s not what the Scottish Book of Common Prayer (1929) says. I quote:

    Question. What is Confirmation?
    Answer. Confirmation is an apostolic and sacramental rite by which the Holy Spirit is given to complete our Baptism, so that we may be strengthened in our Christian life.

    Does anyone know when this important doctrinal change was passed by General Synod?

  19. Yes, at the synod that was held in Glasgow about 9 years ago.

    Change was made to canon law.

    (I opposed it, incidently, but probably not for reasons that you’d approve of, Robin).

  20. It is Canon 25 and it was amended in 2005 – it reads thus:

    1. The Sacrament of Baptism is the full rite of initiation into the Church, and
    no further sacramental rite shall be required of any person seeking admission to Holy Communion. Subject to any Regulations issued by the College of Bishops concerning the preparation of candidates, the admission of any baptized person to Holy Communion shall be at the discretion of the cleric having charge of the congregation of which that person is a member, always providing that a person who has been admitted to Holy Communion in one congregation shall be accepted as a communicant in any other congregation of this Church.
    2. The Scottish Episcopal Church recognizes as eligible to receive Holy Communion any baptized person who is a communicant of any Trinitarian Church.
    3. Any person baptized and duly admitted as a communicant in another Trinitarian Church wishing to become a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church shall be accepted upon receipt of evidence of that baptism and admission in the said Church as a communicant-member of this Church.

  21. Robin says

    What was the character of the debate? If one believes that the admission of women to the threefold ministry of the Church was an extension of an existing doctrine, not a doctrinal change, and that the dropping of the ‘filioque’ clause from the Creed wasn’t a doctrinal change either (nobody is compelled to deny that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son), the change to the doctrine of initiation was the most important doctrinal change made by the Scottish Episcopal Church not just in my lifetime but perhaps even in the SEC’s history. It amazes me that it seems to have been so uncontroversial.

  22. Robin says

    (I don’t say I necessarily disapprove of the change. I’m quite happy not only for the unconfirmed but also for the unbaptised to be admitted to Holy Communion and would turn away no-one – except perhaps ++Judas Williams, and even then probably not – from the altar. But I can’t understand how a Church can teach two contradictory things at once.)

    • To a certain extent, saying two contradictory things at once is part of the consequence of having old liturgical formularies alongside modern ones, I think.

      (If you are not going to say something new, what’s the point in producing something new after all).

      The modern descriptions of marriage in the 2007 marriage rite don’t seem to me to be entirely consistent with the marriage rite of 1929, for example.

      It is the way we live now.

  23. Well, as I said, there were several of us who spoke against the change, for one reason or another but it was passed by a fairly high majority, I think.

    It seems to me that there is just about every view about initiation into the Christian church that has ever been held is currently also held and practised in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Indeed, there are varieties of practice and procedure within congregations and even within families.

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