Welcome – USA style

I belong to an e-group, mostly made up of clergy, who discuss the lectionary readings each week. There is another e-group where we discuss anything and everything concerning church and politics and prayer and stuff. Membership is made up of people from around the world but mostly in the USA, Canada, Australia and UK.

This past week someone was asking for advice on what to put in a welcome pack for clergy when they move into a new parish. The responses have been coming in thick and fast. Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Rectory cleaned and decorated in neutral tones;
  • Rectory garden tidied and notes left on soil details, problems and successes with garden; any veg grown, where snow shovel is kept, etc.
  • Odds and ends box full of picture hooks, tacks, tape, string, marker pens, etc.;
  • Freezer full of casseroles, soups etc;
  • Fridge full of milk, water, sandwich fillings etc;
  • Cupboard with necessaties until shopping can be done (bread, tea, coffee, bottle of champagne! etc);
  • File of local info (day that bins go out, best local carry-outs, recommended garage, petrol station, post office, map of area and parish boundaries (some even mark on map all the congregation members!);
  • File of rectory appliances including meter readings (and where the meters are);
  • File of parish info (congregational roll (including who is related to whom), welcome pack for laity, past 6 months worth of magazines, recent accounts and AGM reports, hymn book(s) and mass setting(s) used, etc.

I was quite impressed with the amount of work that goes into welcoming a new priest. Pity Mission 21 didn’t address that concern.

Now over to you clergy out there… What do you wish you’d known or had when you started?  Want to share any horror stories?

5 thoughts on “Welcome – USA style

  1. When our last rector came I did a village guide for her which I called ‘the lowdown’ in which I was fairly frank about everyone living in the village – who would do what and who just wouldn’t want to know, who needed her and who she would need, as well as alll the details of local tradesmen etc.

  2. Ruth, I worked from memory so the only data was in my head, and I also made sure that I used diplomatic euphemisms: for example one particularly unpleasant person was described as ‘not on good terms with rather a lot of his neighbours’ which does not apportion blame for the bad feeling.

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