We had visitors, with three small children. One was a two-year old, who did what two years do and had himself a little two hour meltdown. The parents were visiting family and could have easily been mortified, but they sat in back. While the parents double-teamed the two-year old (taking him out to the car in shifts to calm down a bit), the usher did a fantastic job of reassuring them everything was okay, providing books for the older kids, and helping the parents get up and down. When it came time for Sunday Breakout (sunday school), the other kids in the parish invited the visiting kids to come.
At the peace, all the kids shook hands with everyone, except that I got caught in a crush of people and couldn't reach one knot of kids. So I shot them a "peace" sign, and they "peace'd" back. Well, the acolyte gave me the Texas Longhorns sign. I will have to speak with her father about that. I mean, I love the Longhorns as my brothers in Christ, but we are a Connecticut state, after all. After the Huskies, there is no space in my heart for any other college team.
So, all-in-all, a rather successful day for a parish that has struggled in the past with welcoming the stranger. I thought they did a great job today! And we had noisy kids, a giggling acolyte, a couple of dropped prayer books, and a little bit of chaos sprinkled among our order. That sounds like decent church, to me.