Ushering in the New

As you may have noticed in recent weeks, ushering has changed a bit. Evangel’s tradition of providing a bulletin as congregants enter the sanctuary has shifted both in form and in purpose. The changes are small but notable, so an explanation is due.

What’s changed is that instead of having two points of contact, there are three. One, people are greeted at the exterior door, as always; two, we are greeted as we enter the sanctuary, as always; and three, we are now escorted to a seat, where we receive the bulletin. While the change is unremarkable to most, it is a different procedure for those who usher, and does have its reasons.

There are two reasons for the subtle change. The first is to be more intentional in greeting and welcoming visitors, relieving the uneasiness of wondering where to sit. People know that when they visit a church, members often like to sit in the same place every week, and there is a bit of anxiety when wondering where to sit without disturbing anyone’s pattern. Having an escort relieves that anxiety. The second reason is to add a layer of security to our previous protocol. Knowing exactly where visitors are seated is beneficial for them as well as for us. In addition, it’s easier to keep up with who is missing so that we can be sure to reach out to them, and visitors can be guided to the information table as well.

Current and future ushers, note that to operate smoothly, this requires two or three of us consistently employing the same procedures each Sunday. As with anything new, it will take a little time and patience to get used to.

What’s not changing is seating location. We can still sit wherever we like, then receive the bulletin when we get there. Hopefully, we’ll be accustomed to this new pattern soon and find it helpful in our efforts to be more relational.

~ Eric Mize