Here is a newsletter column written by Dana Auman, a leader at the Christian Church of Arlington Heights. Dana recently attended a New Day retreat and brought his Goodwill cup along. A good reminder for all of us.
The Good Will Cup
As a member of the Christian Church of Arlington Heights (CCAH), I pride myself in belonging to the type of congregation that is available, opening and loving. We profess that all are welcome at our communion table. We try very hard to make sure that visitors are greeted and to be hospitable. We hand visitors a gift bag with a mug that includes the Disciples chalice, our name and our contact information. We believe we are offering our good will and hope that they would want to come back. We are hopeful that they felt a connection to God and that they had a meaningful experience while in our midst.
Many of you know that I love to go shopping at Goodwill. When I go into a Goodwill store it is like going on atreasure hunt. Sometimes I find nice clothes with the original store tags on them. Sometimes I find items that remind me of my childhood. Sometimes I find gag gifts to take to parties. Shopping at Goodwill is just something I find pleasure in.
Recently, however, I found an item that deeply bothered me. I was at a Goodwill in the area and was browsing through the coffee mugs – as I like to look for funny mugs that I can give out as gag gifts, I saw a mug that caught my attention. It had a Disciples chalice onit. “Cool!” I thought, “This is something that I would love to have for myself!” However, as I reached for it and turned it around – there were the words
“Christian Church of Arlington Heights.” My heart sank…
We are currently in the visioning process – trying to identify how we can build upon our current ministries and move into the next generation of our congregation. We are seeking out how we can better serve our neighbors. We are seeking out how to be relevant as a part of building God’s kingdom here on earth. Let us also consider how we as a congregation – and as individuals – are doing in extending our good will and making visitors truly feel a connection to us – and, through us, to God.
As I write this, I am drinking coffee from my Goodwill cup that says “Christian Church of Arlington Heights.” I profess that this congregation is available, open and loving. But – to whom? What do visitors truly experience when they walk in the doors of my church? Do I make visitors have a feeling that my “family” is exclusive of them? Do visitors feel a connection to God through me? Am I truly offering good will? If not, what could I do differently?