Walked Past a Church Yesterday, Had This Poster on the Door

“Walked Past a Church Yesterday, Had This Poster on the Door”…

Even if you’re not a religious person, surely this is a church you’d have to at least step in to and say hello!

Walked Past a Church Yesterday, Had This Poster on the Door
Source: jbbarnes88

Photograph location: St Clements Church, Leigh-on-sea, Essex, England (http://www.stclementschurch.org.uk/)

Transcribed for anyone who has trouble reading it from the picture.

“We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, confused, filthy rich, comfortable, or dirt poor. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rake or could afford to lose a few pounds. You’re welcome if you are Old Leigh, New Leigh, Not Leigh, or just passing by.

We welcome you if you can sing like Pavarotti or can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re ‘just browsing,’ just woke up or just got out of prison. We don’t care if you’re more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury, or haven’t been in church since little Jack’s christening.

We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome keep-fit mums, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like ‘organised religion.’ We’ve been there too!

If you blew all your money on the horses, you’re welcome here. We offer a welcome to those who think the earth is flat, ‘work too hard,’ don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost on the London Road and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts… and you!”

Simply beautiful


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70 thoughts on ““Walked Past a Church Yesterday, Had This Poster on the Door”…

  1. Did you notice? – “people who can afford to lose a few pounds”. Only fat people are required to change in order to be welcome. Every other category is welcomed without judgement. Typical.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kris,

      I’m not sure if the ‘skinny as a rake or could afford to lose a few pounds’ line was intended that way. I suspect it was more a case of suggesting that, no matter how one looks, they are welcome.

      Just my guess at the intention.

      Best, Mike.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Mike, I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be taken that way, but words have consequences – and those few short descriptor words fail….. The rest is lovely and inclusive. I just wish they’d erred on the side of “fat” (accurate) or “pleasantly plump” (kinder?) or something that didn’t make me wish I were some other way. Just my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Kris, you were looking to find fault in this poster. It is all inclusive and does not request change from the over or under weight. If you go through life always looking for faults you will always find them.

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          1. Actually it does require change. They could say “whether you’re thin or fat,” but specifically calling out “need to lose a few pounds,” does make this fat erasure. It’s a poor use of language. Intent is not magical and turning a legit complaint into a tone argument is kind of derailling. It does need change. If you want fat people to be welcome just say it. “Stand to lose a few pounds,” is an acknowledgement that people can’t just be fat. They have to think they need to lose weight. Nobody has to lose weight if they don’t want to, and weight is not actually a certifiable measure of health.

            The fact that you’re saying that someone is looking to find fault, doesn’t negate that there is fault here. If someone had said “need to be a little lighter” about skin colour, or need to anything that the person cannot change about themselves, you’d scream blue about how racist it is or ableist. Nobody went deliberately looking for faults, that kinda slapped fat people in the face with a mackerel. It sticks out like a sore thumb. And if people do not call out subtle, microagressions, like these, nothing will ever change.

            And since this notice seems to be computer generated, it would take all of two minutes to change the wording to something more accepting of fat people, which is what they seem to want us to believe. And 90% of that two minutes would be waiting for it to come off the printer, laminating it, and sticking it back up on the door.

            Like

            1. I think the entire list is an acknowledgement of what people think of THEMSELVES. I have yet to hear a fat person say “I’m fat”… it’s always “I could stand to lose a few pounds” (myself included). So that’s what this poster is welcoming. Not necessarily that the CHURCH thinks a person can afford to lose a few points, but that the person ENTERING the church thinks that.

              As far as I can tell, it represents real life.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. They don’t say “need to . . “. They say “could afford to . . “. This is a gentler way of saying [something like] “fat” and anyone who takes offense at this could be expected to take expense at the blunt form. But if people are determined to carp they will, warranted or not . . .

              Liked by 1 person

          2. Quite the contrary Gavlar. I think it’s an extremely good but as someone who is fat, I found it judgemental. I read it carefully and tried to put myself in the shoes of all the others mentioned, but this is the only one that was listed negatively. I’ve been thinking of changing that (and the Leigh part) and putting it on the door of my own church. Wouldn’t you rather know that with extremely minor tweaking it wouldn’t put someone off – especially if the goal is to make all welcome?

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            1. English is not my first language, so to me it sounds more like “could afford to lose some weight in a health crisis without any additional danger” which is something a skinny-as-a-rake person can’t do.

              Like

        2. I was thinking the same thing. It can be read to be passing judgment on those who are overweight, as though they need to change their appearance, instead of accepting who they are.

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          1. As can a few other categories. Precocious [and by implication usually impudent] teenagers, immature adults who should bear themselves with a bit more dignity by now, anorexic individuals &c. &c..
            Those who are predisposed to find an excuse to carp will do so regardless of the facts.

            Like

  2. Thank you for being welcoming to me. However, I DON’T have to “at least come in and say hello. Whether I do so or not, is dependent upon whether I’m interested in whatever is happening there – and I’m not. Any number of sports clubs, gardening circles and brothels is welcoming to me, too, and I don’t have to “at least come in and say hello” there, either.

    Being welcoming to anybody doesn’t make you any more attractive. To the contrary: I’d rather not spend my time with bigotted racists, sexists, gay-haters or wife-beaters – or people who need the church to tell them that it is a bad idea to be one of the above, for example.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe. I care more about what actually happens there than who is there. I am not at all interested in engaging in activities I know to usually happen in churches – like worshipping some random deity I don’t believe to exist. The only way to tell who is in a brothel is also to go inside. But since I’m not interested in engaging in the activities those places are used for, why should I do so? Why should I care who is in there?

        Like

        1. No one is putting pressure on you to go in. There is no call on you to go in. The welcome is there should you be interested.

          You are saying, by implication that NO ONE should EVER welcome any one to ANYTHING. In the nature of things how could they do it without their welcome coming under the notice of both those who are interested and those who are not interested?

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          1. I’m not saying any of that. I am just rejecting the claim of the original comment above the photograph, that “Even if you’re not a religious person, surely this is a church you’d have to at least step in to and say hello”. Because that is bogus.

            Like

          1. You missed the point of my comment. I’m not rejecting the sentiment of the poster as much as the line above it.

            This welcoming attitude is the welcoming of a venus flytrap, by the way.

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            1. Nah, George, youre safe.
              From a frothing at the mouth hostile to organized religion-er.

              Seeing as how it’s MY Leigh family line populating that town, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they entirely upended the process and ran some kind of rescue mission for lost pagans inside with connections to resources. And tea, proper tea with music. 😉

              Like

  3. It’s a wonderful post. Though, as I can appreciate some of the complaints, the welcome should be taken in the spirit of community it attempts to be fun and welcoming. Most people are trying and I give them a 100 likes for trying. Those who wish to complain should contact the church and request a change. I’m sure their comments will be welcome, considered and learning and friendship could happen. Sometimes our hyper-sensitivity may be a disservice.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Welcome! | Pr Rob
  5. Late to the party, as usual lol, but I wanted to say:
    I was laughing over this, thinking it was all kinds of stealth subversive, very we’re all equal and welcome here, while pretending to be establishment-
    Then I hit the Leigh part, and lost it.

    You see, my maternal grandmother’s line are Leighs, they wholesale bailed from priviledge for the Colonies before they WERE Colonies, and have never conformed, always treated everyone as equals even when society condemned that, and all the while somehow still thriving anyways.

    Nice to know the bloodline runs true on BOTH sides of the Atlantic 😽💫

    Like

  6. For those who only see the words “could afford to lose a few pounds…” and somehow interpret this as degrading or judging toward the overweight…my heart bleeds for you. I am fat. I could ‘afford” to lose more than a few pounds. I am sensitive about my weight. I haven’t always been overweight and often wonder how I got this way. I’ve heard the barely whispered comments from complete strangers about my weight. I first saw this sign when a friend brought a copy home from her church. The minister of that church saw it online, printed copies and passed them out among his congregation. I’ve read it several times, yet until now all I felt was quiet joy that someone, somewhere, understood the real purpose of religion: to bring people together, to form community and to affirm all people regardless of where they may be on their life path. Even now, after reading comments from those who read the passage as “judgmental” of overweight people, I do not see the implied or even accidental offense. It reads as humorous to me, a fat woman who tends to great sensitivity on the subject of weight. It truly makes me sad that so many see only offense and hurt. It must truly be painful to go through life carrying such pain. As I said, my heart bleeds for you and I wish you a measure of peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Actually Jesus has power to turn every life right whatever the deformity if they ask Him. That’s why He came. That’s why He died and that is why He resurrected. Whoever takes the welcome and goes in there should come out new and made whole. Jesus blood still has power to cleanse from sin. Anything short of that should be “un – welcomed” inside the church.

    Like

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