The son and granddaughter from Texas are with us for two weeks. We went to Cashel. At the reception desk at the Rock we were met with bored looking staff who told us quite sharply that they did not take cards, only cash. It is clearly a privilege for us to pay money to Heritage Ireland, and we must do it on their terms, not ours. Whatever happened to the notion that the customer might sometimes be right? This must be a great experience for foreign visitors.
I wonder what sort of welcome visitors to our churches get? Are they confronted by a group of people in conversation in front of the books? Do they have to fight their way through people blocking the doors? Is the pre-service atmosphere one of socialising or reverence? Is the organ music actually audible? Are newcomers confronted by a sense of the Divine glory and joy, or simply a group of people who are intent on maintaining the attitudes and resentments of the past? Does any of this matter? If it does matter, for how much longer will it matter?