Unfriendliness in our Churches
- Georgy S. Thomas's article regarding the unfriendliness in our Churches is a matter of great concern. I feel our individual church committee can take steps in putting an end to this unfriendly attitude. If our members of the spiritual organisations like OCYM, MGOCSM, Women's league members take the initiative to say a genuine 'Hello' to everyone irrespective of new or old after the service slowly this attitude will change.
I have faced similar situations of unfriendliness. Once while serving in the altar of one of our Churches outside India, where I was on a visit, the Achen introduced me to the public during his sermon. After the service there was some 'Nercha' for all. On completing the services in the Altar, we came out, and there was no 'Nercha' left for me. However, Achen felt very bad about this and brought his plate of 'Nercha', which was fortunately kept for him in his room and gave me in public. It is not a matter of food, but ignoring to care is what hurts. Seeing this many a people felt bad and started bringing their plates to share. Here the Achen was a model for others. If the Achens show the Public how to share and greet people and also talk about such things in small groups rather than talking during the Sunday Sermons, we might find a difference. I have also seen during "Kaimuthu after the Sunday service, some Achen's smiling and asking the well being of people (How are you? Where are you from etc.). It hardly takes a second to ask, How are you? The reply will be 'I am fine'. One in a hundred will say, I will to talk to Achen later. I don't think the Achen is committing a Sin while talking during the Kaimuthu. On the contrary these Achens' turn out to be genuine and acceptable to all. I was also fortunate to be with Achen's who share their breakfast with all the Altar assistants who assisted him during the service, every single day after the service. Every one may not get enough, but the happiness of sharing makes one full.
To put an end to the unfriendly attitude, we should start training at the seminary level and ask the Seminarians to develop the skills of being friendly and display signs of friendliness and teach the Parishioners while they go for Parish Ministry training. I have seen Anglicans greeting their fellow worshippers at the time of giving peace. They go around and give peace by shaking hands, not to the ones just behind them, but to possibly all. Even if it takes 5 or 10 minutes this could be the most pleasing in the eyes of Lord Almighty. Later at the time of dispersal after their service, the Priest and the Altar Assistants come out of the church first followed with the people and start greeting each one before they leave the church. Similar greetings might not be possible in some of our big Parishes. But where there is a will there is a way.
Philip A. C., Auckland