I remember when one of my high school friends took me to his Baptist church. In rural Tennessee they were very much the majority, but I was totally unexposed to their customs. It was communion Sunday, which should have helped me out a bit. However, when they passed around the little crackers, I took one and immediately popped it in my mouth only to realize that everyone else was still holding theirs while the pastor said a few more words. I was sure everyone in the church heard me bite into my piece of Jesus!
Of course, we Episcopalians have our unexplained customs and VTS has a bundle of our own ways of being. In this time of welcome and hospitality, we have a great opportunity to be there for the newcomer. Remember those things that baffled you when you arrived here. Please anticipate what others may need to know or do; then share, encourage and accompany.
And by the way, please consider sitting down with someone who is alone in the refectory or someone whom you do not know.
Jim Mathes Associate Dean of Students and Director of Anglican Studies