How to get to know people at church???(18 Posts)
I have found a lovely church and was welcomed on the door etc but it feels a bit like the school playground conversations. People come in large families or know each other. It's just myself and two children and they seemed to enjoy the social events such as messy play etc. but I want to be apart of the church to explore and strenghen my faith and for myself and children to find new friends. But how do you get involved or or talk to people??
Hi there... I don't think there's an easy way to do this - you have to just talk to people and keep on till you find some like-minded soul, and, with luck, it'll burgeon from there... Of course, how easy it is to do this depends a lot on your character. I'm naturally quite reserved, so find it hard just to kind of march up to people and say 'Hi, I'm Tuo. Who are you?' but sometimes all you can do is grit your teeth and give it a go. If you're confident enough to do so, you could, however, try just coming clean and saying (perhaps to the vicar or someone who looks 'official'): 'I'm new and I don't know anyone, but I'd like to be more involved - can you introduce me to a few people?'.
Is there a coffee hour after the service that you can go to? Sometimes there will be people there specifically tasked to look out for 'newbies' and to introduce them to others. Or people may well talk anyway, especially (IME) if you have kids of a similar age. Are there kids that your children know from school? Could you take that as an opportunity to introduce yourself as 'Tuo Minor's mother' and start a conversation about school?
Can you volunteer to help with something - even if it's something quite low-key at first? I find that the weekly notices often take for granted that everyone knows everyone else and will say things like 'Mrs Sproggit is collecting knitting wool for homeless kittens; if you can provide any, please see her after the service'... which is fine, unless you don't know Mrs Sproggit from Adam! But you can use something like this to open a conversation on the lines of 'Hi, I'm new, and I don't know anyone, but I have some knitting wool at home that the kittens could have, could you point me in the direction of Mrs Sproggit?'. That way you start to feel more involved and also meet a couple of people and it's less 'exposed' somehow than the 'Hi, I'm Tuo' approach.
Finally, given that you want to find ways to explore and strengthen your own faith, could you talk to the vicar and ask what they have on that you might attend. S/he might be busy and/or in-demand (cornered by Mrs Sproggit and her tales of kitten-related woe, no doubt) after the service, so maybe phone or email some other time or make an appointment to see her/him.
Just a few ideas... I'm sure others will also have some. Good luck. It took me a while to stop feeling like a fish out of water, but I persevered and it was definitely worth it.
There are often people at the door - the welcoming team. I would make them your first port of call.
It is sometimes difficult for churches to get the balance right. They don t want to put newcomers off by throwing their arms round them and asking for their life history!
But I'm sure if you express an interest in meeting people, there will be plenty of people who will be more than happy to talk to you.
Good luck !
We've just joined a new church so were in a similar position.
We did a course the church ran, that was really good for meeting people. We also make an effort to hang around at the end to talk to people, and we've joined a home group.
At my last church it took a year before I felt part of the church, and the thing that really made a difference was volunteering.
In the church I go to it would be home groups, women's fellowship &/or volunteering (home mission) that would help you both get to know other people and deepen one's faith. I moved here 7 years ago and started attending the church within a couple of months (had previously been a member at a church of same denomination where I used to live). I would say it took about 4 years to get to know people, which is far longer than I had anticipated! However, those people are now among my firmest friends, despite some of them moving house, or church, or both.
I am struggling with this also, my dd is Catholic and loves attending church but I am a divorced single mother and honestly its like I am the plague..
Moldingsunbeams I hope you are not experiencing plague like symptoms at your local Catholic church, that would be bang out of order basically.What has been happening or not happening that makes you feel that way? Do you know anyone at the CC you go to?
Pretty much honeyandrum, the problem is its heavily run by the school "alpha mums" and priest is happy to let them but it means its a continuation of the school playground and bitching, they have their own little groups like the school playground, no one speaks, says hello, nods or anything. During coffee and cake time no one talks to either me or dd. I went for months and no one even said hello, told dd where to go for Sunday school etc. She was even missed out when they were handing out little presents at Christmas.
We cant make it to a different CC so its made us consider another church altogether tbh.
I don't blame you. Sounds like the priest is not able to handle the social aspects at all well. I am Catholic so will naturally encourage you to keep your daughter connected to the church and receive the sacraments but otherwise receive fellowship where you find it. All Christians are supposed to be developing and forming as disciples of Christ, if discipleship is not happening in the Catholic parish then find it elsewhere. Please be aware that it is just this community and not the whole church. Have you talked to the priest about it? I would, because he may not be aware how this behavior from the community is driving people away. If you tell him truthfully and with love then the ball is really in his court to man up.
I am honestly so shocked at how unfriendly and outrageous they are being. I am in Germany and everyone was so welcoming to our family at our local parish even though we couldn't speak a word of German when we arrived! I have always made lots of friends in all the parishes I have been a part of in the UK and the USA - so don't just run away. Please let the priest (and/or other pastoral leaders in the parish) know your experiences and how unwelcoming the community is.
Bottom line: they are not behaving as Christians and living the Gospel!
Oh I know, dd did her confirmation at a much larger Catholic Church and it was complete opposite, we just cannot get there on a regular basis as no public transport in time for the service but I know some people from school who do go instead for similar reasons.
I would second volunteering. I helped out at Sunday school which was hilarious, and got to know people that way.
I understand the quandry about your Catholic church not feeling welcoming but wanting to stay within that denomination.
I was bought up an Anglican, abs really do agree with its theology. However, we now go to a Baptist church as the two Anglican churches near us just didn't feel right. One was ridiculously homophobic, we almost walked out of one service it was so in Christian. The second is just very old fashioned and not welcoming.
It has left us in a quandry about how much we get involved though. For example, I'm expecting dc1 and it's important to me that it is christened in a CofE church, but I'm not sure how to approach it.
sunbeams -Could you ask the people from school who go to the other Catholic church if they'd mind giving you and DD a lift? You could offer to contribute to petrol money, or do help them out in some other way depending on your circumstances (e.g. look after their child after school occasionally, pick up from Brownies, whatever...) so you don't feel too indebted. Just a thought, as you really don't sound happy where you are.
Tuo no one that goes lives our way sadly.
We have been to another faith church a few times which offers more what we are looking for certainly for dd.
Since fellowship is a central tenet of christianity, it is so important that each and every one of us feels part of our church communities.
It was through extra groups such as bible study, retreats and church meetings that I got to know the members of my church.
If it's difficult to attend additional sessions, ask people's advice. A good conversation starter for someone new to an area might include asking about the local christian book shop or about groups affiliated with your church - particularly children's groups or craft circles.
Washing up is also a fantastic opportunity to have a conversation.
Get involved however you can - help your church become more welcoming from the inside ;)
Thankyou for the tips :-) they are running a Christianity explored course soon so I will try that
Thst sounds interesting 3in1 - hope you enjoy it.
It took a long time for me to become known at church. But this was my choice. I am catholic and would go to Sunday Mass and be last in and first out.While I got comfort from the Mass and recieving Holy Communion I did not wish to be ''involved''.I would be out of the door long before people hung around to talk to the priest or each other.I think this came from my father's attitude.He had become an aetheist in later life and told us all to keep away from what he called ''religious'' people.
Things changed suddenly about seven years ago.An old friend told me she was becoming a catholic and asked me to be her sponsor.I started going to the RCIA meetings with her just to see what being a sponsor was about.I got to know alot of people through this, and am now an RCIA cathechist.I now have a large circle of friends at the church, we dont always talk about church things.We meet up in the church cafe after Sunday Mass and have a good laugh together.
I hope things change for you soon. As someone else said, try volenteering, you will soon become ''one of them''.
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