The purpose of the Welcome Lounge
The Welcome Lounge is provided with a view to ensuring that first-time attendees to New Life are given a real welcome to the church and do not ‘come in and leave’ without anyone expressing that welcome. It is not intended for regular New Life attendees – although they are encouraged to join with any ‘new’ people they bring to church.
Arrangements for the Welcome Lounge
A serious effort is made to ensure that all first-time attendees are spoken to before the Sunday morning meeting and invited to the Welcome Lounge held at the conclusion of the meeting: tastefully-designed invitation cards are given to them. A ‘Welcome Card’ is also used for new attendees on occasions when, for one reason or another, a Welcome Lounge is not held.
At the end of the meeting, the people are escorted to the Welcome Lounge, which is provided by ‘hiving-off’ part of the minor hall to provide a discrete welcoming environment, set out with coffee tables and chairs. ‘Special’ coffee, teas and quality biscuits are served. The people are made welcome and given a letter from Kevin, with a comprehensive note about church activities. Newcomers are also given an invite to a Welcome Lunch. Andrew and Andrea were joint leaders of the Welcome Lounge team during 2015/16, with greatly appreciated help and support from Ngozi, Cheme and Chibuzo, Diane and Jonathan (Gledhill). Kevin attends the Welcome Lounge as soon as he is free from the main hall.
A Welcome Lunch is held, immediately following a Sunday morning meeting, at about quarterly intervals. A last-minute check is made to ascertain likely attendance and a lovely buffet lunch is served. As last year, the lunches have been catered for by Tess, for which we are very grateful: her food is much better than the sandwich platters, etc., that were previously provided! We are also appreciative of the help given in this occasion by Tess’ Filipino friends, Lisa and Amanda.
Main achievements of the year
Sessions are not held when large numbers of ‘visitors’ are expected to a Sunday morning meeting, such as for Family Services. During the year 2015/2016, 27 Welcome Lounge sessions were held, with 182 newcomers attending, bringing the total since its inception in September 2009 to 720.
Main plans for the future
Consideration is being given to the recruitment of additional help and a 'follow-up system' to make contact with new attendees on subsequent visits to New Life, but particularly on their second visit.
Stuart and Marie Robinson