“Every human encounter invites us to adjust our fragile equilibrium to the push or pull of a new other,” writes Maria Poggi Johnson in Making a Welcome: Christian Living and the Practice of Hospitality. That’s wisdom we’re taking into our grant year, this year of programming ahead of us that will invite us to celebrate the diversity present in our congregation and call on the gifts that diversity brings as we shape our worship experience together. We’re borrowing her title – Making a Welcome – because it so well suits what we hope to do together in the months ahead: welcome guests who will teach us about valuing all of the voices in our gatherings; welcome our own wild ideas and holy impulses as we engage in creating worship materials together; welcome our friends, families, and neighbors in new ways to our life of faith together, and prepare ourselves, and the equilibrium of our congregation, for the shift that happens as we grow together. We’ll begin this work, in the September/October sermon series, by looking at who we say we are as American Baptists, and at how being rooted in that common identity calls us to make a welcome wherever we find ourselves. As we begin, I’d invite you to consider: when, where, how has a welcome been made for you? What has that been like? How are you, these days, making a welcome with your own life?