CAPTION: Andrew Beane says churches can offer glimpses of heaven on earth

Call for church buildings to be places of ‘radical hospitality’ 7 days a week

Posted: 27th September, 2019

Church buildings should be places of “radical hospitality” where people feel welcome as soon as they walk in, seven days a week, that’s according to the new Archdeacon of Exeter, the Venerable Andrew Beane.

He used his sermon at the service to welcome him into his new role (officially known as a Collation service) to call for church members in Devon to make their buildings as welcoming as possible.

The service took place at St Mary’s Church, Ottery St Mary on 25 September.

It was led by the Bishop of Exeter, accompanied by the Bishop of Plymouth and Bishop of Crediton.

Archdeacon Andrew was previously the Team Rector of Aylsham and District team ministry, a group of 18 churches in Norfolk, including one which hosted the first church “Escape Room”.

He said: “What if we created ‘rooms of hospitality’ in our churches, even just comfortable chairs and a kettle to make tea etc?

“What if that simple hospitality made people feel like they had been welcomed into God’s kitchen?

“We need to offer radical hospitality, making all feel welcome in God’s house.”

Archdeacon Andrew asked congregations to think about how welcoming church noticeboards were and how much they invited people to explore inside churches.

He also spoke about the welcome churches can offer children, with spaces for them to play in and “explore the wonder of God”.

The new Welcome toolkit is designed to help churches think about how to make their buildings welcoming to visitors

“Our buildings can teach people whenever they walk in,” he said.

“Churches can offer glimpses of heaven here on earth.

“They are a vivid witness to Christian cultural heritage in Devon, holding the stories of so many of our communities.

Archdeacon Andrew concluded that churches’ mission was to take God’s “radical, hope-filled, joyous love and hospitality out of our churches and into our communities and God’s wonderful world.”

In November, the Diocese of Exeter is launching a new Welcome toolkit for churches, to help them think through creative ways to show welcome in church buildings seven days a week and not just Sundays.

It is a Growing the Rural  Church project but relevant for all churches.

For more information about how your church can get a copy please contact Katharine Otley, Website, Marketing and Publications Officer.

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