Being one of the newest people at First Church, I encounter a lot of other new people. We all have that same look about us- curiosity, a little timidness, anticipation, hoping to get it all right. 

Last week there were some visitors who approached me after worship. Maybe they saw that “new person” look still in my eyes and wanted familiar company. As we sipped our coffee, they shared that they have been searching for a church home for some time and they asked me: 
“What can we expect by being a part of First Church?”
I thought, “Wow what a fantastic question.” One that I felt a little timid in my response, because I’m still learning what to expect by being here myself. Our church staff had just finished our worship and programming calendar and so I answered with what I knew. I answered with what a typical year looks like on the church calendar, the times for fellowship and food, and with the volunteer opportunities for mission. They seemed satisfied but their question stuck with me after they had left. I wondered if they were asking for something more than logistics. 
I thought about what I would have said if I could do it over again, and then this wonderful YouTube video came to mind. It’s called “To a person on their first day here,” from a web series called Kid President. 

Kid President’s letter reminds me of how the authors wrote the Epistles. They were letters to communities trying to figure out how to follow Jesus in a way they never had experienced before. They were all new to this and they didn’t know what to expect! And so, these letters were words of encouragement, instruction and partnership. They were hopeful words, but they were also honest about the conflict and complications of human connection. These early Christian communities were committed to radical hospitality, support for one another and spreading the love of God. Not too different than us here at First church. 

To a person on their first day at First Church:
Welcome to this church! 
We’re glad you are here. It’s a pretty wonderful place, amazing things happen here every day! There’s lots to experience and be a part of. Like singing, sharing meals, praying for joys and concerns and worshiping God together.  
Being a person is hard sometimes, Jesus knew it. Sometimes it feels like there’s not enough love to go around. We get too busy, we get cranky, we get competitive. Sometimes there are good days and sometimes there are really bad days. It can also be hard being a community of people. We trip over each other, we disagree, we say things we don’t always mean. We are sorry for the mess-ups, yet we strive for Shalom.   
Know this: 
You are not alone. We are better because you are here today. 
You are loved. 
Maybe you haven’t heard that from a church before, or maybe you have and there were conditions you couldn’t reach. 
What you can expect to experience here is to know that you are not alone and to re-experience that in infinite ways.  
It’s that simple: You are loved. “You were made from love, to be love, to spread love.” 
Welcome to First Church, we’re so glad you’re here.
-Pastor Britt Cox-