Friday, October 03, 2008

More hospitality needed

From one of the letters at EpiscopalLife Online [boldface mine]:

Upon reading the article "Not so alien" (September), I thought that it might be worthwhile for me to share my experience of visiting the headquarters of our church in Manhattan.

First, when I arrived in front of the entrance, I did not notice either the Episcopal flag or emblem anywhere outside the building. Given the propensity of New Yorkers to be "in your face," I am wondering if it is not being unduly modest. I am proud of being Episcopalian and would have smiled had I seen the shield or flag that represents something so dear to my heart.

When I entered, I was confronted with two persons at a table to the right of the entrance. They were obviously there to screen people who want access to the building. It was all very businesslike.

Silly as I am, I had imagined that someone would be in the lobby to greet me (a wandering soul) and tell me "estas en tu casa," as the Latinos would say (i.e., "welcome to your home"). Obviously, it would not be efficient to have someone there just to greet people and make them feel at home; however, that building is where our Presiding Bishop spends much of her time, and you would think that we would not want to miss an occasion to demonstrate that Episcopalians welcome all who approach us.

It was, all in all, a very disappointing experience. Perhaps my comments will help make our headquarters a little more in tune with the tradition of hospitality. Small gestures such as welcoming strangers do indeed often have far greater impact than could be rationally expected.

Would it be too snarky for me to say that this does not surprise me at all?

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