Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome, Clergy

As a choir member, I often enter St. Paul’s through the door nearest the chapel. Walking to the door after parking my car, I cannot miss the parking spots reserved for clergy. These are marked by signs announcing “RESERVED FOR CLERGY.” There are fewer of these signs than there used to be; the old signs said “RESERVED CLERGY.” Whether they were changed because someone asked where the wild and crazy clergy were supposed to park, I cannot say. (That question is from the Pickering era.)

Now, I have no problem with reserving special parking places for clergy. It is worth noting that the designated clergy parking places are not really in prime locations, so the signs don’t seem to suggest that clergy are more important than the rest of us.

I think we need additional reserved spaces in the parking lot, however. Why don’t we designate several parking slots nearest the lot entrance as being reserved for visitors, that is, for those who are neither clergy, nor staff, nor parishioners of St. Paul’s? Wouldn’t this be a welcoming gesture?

The visitor-only parking places could be a lot more visitor-friendly than is at first apparent. Parking spaces behind St. Paul’s are not laid out in the most obvious fashion, and saving visitors the trouble of navigating the lot’s odd geometry would be a gift. So would saving visitors the effort of walking uphill from parking spaces in the lot’s interior.

The first-time visitor to St. Paul’s faces another problem, namely, how to enter the building. Where is the handicapped entrance? Where is the church office? Where does one go to attend a Sunday worship service? None of these questions is easily answered when standing in the parking lot staring at the building. If we had several designated visitor parking places, we could erect one or more signs to welcome visitors and orient them.

Are we willing to give up a few parking spaces for visitors?

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