I cannot claim authorship completely of the following “invitation.” It is an edited version that has been bounced around, used and reused by many folks across the country. A quick Google search reveals scores of similar “You’re welcome here…” blurbs. At any rate, this my version for our little nook in the city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, edited appropriately for our context. Feel free to use it for your own church setting. Peace and blessings.

You’re Welcome at Diamond UMC

Here at Diamond United Methodist Church we extend a special welcome to all of God’s children. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you’ve been or where you’re going, you’re made in the image of God and welcome here. God’s grace is available to you.

We welcome those who are single, married, divorced, or widowed. Those that are gay, straight, rich, comfortable, or poor; have lived here for decades, just moved in, or are passing on through are welcome at Diamond.

We extend a special welcome to those that are newly married, never married, or married for longer than they can even remember. We welcome families of all sizes: those with one child that is as quiet as a mouse, those with a whole basketball team, and even moms and dads with crying babies.

You’re welcome here if you can sing like Adele or if you 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. Those that serve in our military or serve as first responders, you’re welcome here, too. We don’t care if you’re more Christian than the Bishop of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference, your Bible has a thick layer of dust on it, or if you haven’t been in church since your little niece’s baptism, you’re welcome here.

We extend a warm welcome to those who are over 60 but not yet grown up and to teenagers who are growing up way too fast. We welcome keep-fit moms, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters, smokers and drinkers.

We welcome those who are in recovery or are still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems and if you’re down in the dumps. We welcome you even if don’t like ‘organized religion’ or you call yourself ‘spiritual.’ Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and every other political affiliation, you’re welcome here, too.

If you blew all your money on scratch-off tickets or put your paycheck on black at the roulette table you’re welcome here, too. We offer a welcome to those who think the earth is flat and to those that explain everything with science. You’re welcome here if you just go to church on Christmas and Easter, or just because grandma is in town and she made you go.

We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a heartfelt welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost on route 309 and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts, and all those at different locations on their own journey of faith… and we welcome you!