Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Sunday Door Dance


I went looking for a photo of a pastor or priest shaking hands at the church door and I got a kick out of this one. Is that a church warden with a basket for the offering in the foreground? Maybe he's working on a second round for those who weren't generous during the worship service.

That business of shaking hands as people depart is an odd tradition: "good morning, good morning, good morning..." For a number of weeks we didn't shake hands at all because of H1N1 but I was still at the door: "good morning, good morning, good morning..."
While at times it seems rather odd, it has it's place. This past Sunday I had several brief but important conversations. One with a good friend of a woman who was recently widowed. We quickly touched base on the contact she had this past week with her bereaved friend. Another with the sister-in-law of a woman who is drifting into dementia. It happened that we were both at the nursing home at the same time a few days ago and it seemed as though the affected woman really didn't know me. The sister-in-law told me that after I left the woman in the bed spoke of me by name, so she obviously comes and goes from reality. And there was a relative newcomer to worship who demonstrated he was paying attention to the sermon, making a comment.

These are hardly the ideal circumstances to chat, with the line-up behind, but there are still opportunities to connect. Sometimes it is my fleeting moment to ask about an absent family member -- it turns out one guy missing on Sunday has been working plenty of overtime so his wife was there alone, while another man told me that his absent wife isn't doing well in her struggle with cancer.

What do you think about the "door dance?" Would you ever share anything personal as you shuffle by?

5 comments:

IanD said...

The door dance is wild. I have a hard time doing it, just because it always seems so forced and rushed. That said, clearly this is just my issue and in the big picture, the process is a good thing.

I know the old man makes good use of it to pass off/collect 'colorful' jokes, though. People obviously give and take what they need from it I guess!

lionlamb said...

This from reader Bill via email:

I AM SURE THE MOMENT YOU HAVE WITH PEOPLE AT THE DOOR IS MOST IMPORTANT.I AM SURE IT MAKES PEOPLE FEEL WELCOME.I EXPECT THE REGULAR CHURCH ATTENDERS WOULD FIND YOU IF THEY HAD THINGS TO DISCUSS BUT I AMSURE THOSE WHO ARE SEARCHING FOR A CHURCH HOME OR THOSE WHO ONLY COME ON OCCASION MAY NOT .

Susan said...

Interesting enough, it was only at the Sunday Door Dance moment, when visiting other churches that my greeted was extended and I was given the opportunity to converse. When I entered the church - I was welcomed only.

lionlamb said...

Thanks for these. They made me think about my time away on leave last year. I attended a tiny congregation a number of times and I never got past hello with the minister, a kindly and thoughtful guy in his seventies. I wonder what would have helped to get beyond a simple greeting?

Deborah Laforet said...

That would be my challenge on Sunday mornings. I find there isn't enough time to talk with people.

I do find it valuable though. It gives me the opportunity to at least say hello to everyone and especially anyone who may be new or who I haven't seen in awhile.