As my role takes me round a range of churches, one of the things I hear most often claimed is that 'we are a welcoming church' - and I am yet to hear of anyone claiming that theirs is not a welcoming church.
I have just been reading Stephanie Spellers' book Radical Welcome (Church Publishing, Incorporated, 2006). In the book we are challenged to be much more radical in our consideration (and practice) of what it means to be really welcoming. Stephanie Spellers talks about various aspects of this, but not least the need to pay attention to our context.
She also stresses the vital role of reaching out that is part of the very essence of being church - ".. the church's primary mission, identity and ministry are not wrapped up in those of us who are already inside. It is not primarily about our comfort and sense of peace. It is not primarily about our sense of belonging. It is not primarily about doing good deeds or maintaining a cultural heritage. All those priorities, valid as they are, must be a means to serve our primary call: aligning our will with God's, loving as God loves, welcoming as God welcomes." (p. 163).
Let's search for a welcome that really reaches out!