First, we welcome
To feel a call to be a community of faithful prayer in a ministry context that is shared with the world is a particular vocation indeed. It underscores the primary ministry of hospitality that we all share as Christians, but I would imagine that you in this community are called upon to exercise, in extraordinary ways, every time you come into the Cathedral to pray.
—The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Diocese of Washington
Volunteer ushers, greeters, and coffee hour refreshment providers are the first welcome that we offer to all—the seeker, the tourist, the stranger, the worshiper from near and far, and our own resident flock—whom God sends our way. As Jesus said, we are called to feed the hungry, provide drink to those who thirst, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, tend the sick, and visit the prisoner—and—“just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:34–40).
In the course of a year, the Cathedral conducts 1,600–1,800 services and hosts in the neighborhood of 300,000 worshipers. These daily opportunities for hospitality and welcome underscore the great need for volunteers to help in showing forth Christ’s indiscriminate bestowal of light. Join our faithful hospitality corps.
In our own words
You will work for Sunday services, special services, Diocesan events, music festivals, concerts, and other special services to greet guests and help them find seating. During worship services you will also help with collecting the offering and directing the congregation to communion. Your ministry of hospitality will extend far beyond these basics to a broad range of activities, in helping guests experience the majesty and wonder of this House of Prayer. You will learn many things as you greet and guide tourists and regular worshipers toward their own perfect experience and deepen your love of the Lord and Washington National Cathedral.
As a new usher, we ask you to commit to one-two services per month, choosing from either Sunday services or our wide range of special services. Please join this dedicated group, many of whom have served here for over 20 years, and interact with people from all over the nation and the world.
Cathedral Greeters are often the first smile a visitor will encounter as he or she walks through the doors. For this reason we seek people who have a ready smile and a willing heart to help people feel comfortable as they seek the connection that has drawn them in. Greeters work in assigned teams each Sunday morning. One person comes in well before the 8:45 am service to set out the congregational buttons, table information, crayons and bulletins for children. Another will take all of this down and put it away after the 11:15 service and coffee hour. In between at least two others will join these ranks and welcome all who enter the doors at the various porches outside of the nave.
Prior to taking on responsibilities for greeting, each person has an hour of orientation and a tour of the Cathedral so that giving directions for what event is taking place and where it is happening becomes second nature. Each new greeter then shadows a team for a week or two before being assigned for Sunday service. Most greeters are on duty only one or two Sundays in a three month rotating schedule which is based on greeter preferences and availability for service. In many ways it is the perfect way for a new member of the congregation to get to know more about where things are and what is happening. We find that those who are newest to the Washington National Cathedral understand best what it is like to walk through those doors for the first time and how daunting and yet thrilling that experience can be.
Coffee Hour Hosts
One of the tangible ways the Cathedral extends hospitality to our many visitors and builds community within the congregation is Sunday coffee hour.
The coffee teams are generally made up of four to five people. They work once a month, and one fifth Sunday a year, for a total of 13 times per year. There are two teams per Sunday, at 8:45 and at 11:15 am. The commitment is two hours per month. The team members are also asked to provide cookies when they serve.
Congregation members Michael and Jennifer Neal lead a volunteer corps to manage this aspect of hospitality. The goal is to engage enough volunteer teams that each group assumes responsibility for one Sunday service each month. During the service, members prepare lemonade and cookies for the summer months and coffee and cookies, September to June. These preparations take place upstairs on the seventh floor. The service is “piped in” so the team stays connected to the worshipers in the nave. The team on duty sets up the refreshments on the coffee tables and greets and replenishes the table. Afterward, the team cleans up and returns the carts.
Find out if you have the “right stuff” to join the hospitality core! Contact Ellen Spencer.