Going to a new church often makes me nervous. Since we started attending an Episcopal church some of the practices are different. I would rather not point out the fact that I don’t know what’s going on. For example, reciting The Nicene Creed or using the correct vocabulary like Acolyte or Eucharist. However, what’s the worst that could happen? I make a mistake? I meet someone new?
Here are some things that helped me feel at ease at my new church:
1. Sit in a pew with other people. You already feel isolated, don’t make it worse.
2. If there’s something unfamiliar during the service don’t look around frantically trying to figure it out. Take it in. Pay attention to the people in front of you and just observe.
3. Introduce yourself. Passing the peace of Christ is a good time but after the service as people are walking out allows for more time to talk.
4. At the end of the service, walk down the center aisle and meet the reverend. You’ll at least get a smile and a kind word.
4. If you’re brave enough to go to coffee hour grab a snack and invite yourself to sit down with someone. If nothing seems available, sit alone at a table. This sounds scary but I guarantee people will approach you. A church wants to welcome newcomers and if they see you alone someone is sure to say “Hi.”
Any other suggestions?