Holy Hospitality

Holy Hospitality


Rev. Dr. Kristen Provost Switzer is the 26th settled pastor of South Congregational Church in Middletown, CT.  When Kristen is not pastoring, she can be found spending time with her family, hiking around New England and cooking vegetarian food.

Scripture: Matthew 10:40-42   (NRSVUE)

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.


Reflection: Holy Hospitality



My favorite meal is the one that I don’t have to cook.

But seriously, my favorite meal is the one that is waiting for me when I walk through the door
after having been out of the house for 10+ hours, a long commute, especially on days when the weather is blustery. Those meals that all I have to do is drop my briefcase by the door, wash my hands and a steaming hot plate of food magically appears, dotingly cooked by my beloved. Those are the best.

Jesus was an expert in Holy Hospitality. This Scripture reading comes right after Jesus summons the twelve disciples – right near the beginning of his public ministry. Perhaps this suggests that hospitality should be one of the first reflexes that we cultivate in our communities.

How we welcome people explicitly and implicitly tells first-time guests and prospective visitors our values and whether or not they could ever be authentically welcome in our faith communities. For instance, we all want Gen Zers to join our churches. So how do we do that? According to the Barna Gen Z Study (https://www.whoisgenz.com/), “Gen Z can teach adults about the importance of loving those who are different from them.” Churches need to demonstrate how genuine Christian love is rooted in truth, charity and grace. Their need for community, security, compassion and connection creates a perfect opportunity for the church. Give Gen Zers a safe place to ask questions, express doubts and walk with them as they enter adulthood. Churches must invest now or miss this critical opportunity.”

In many New England towns and cities, our church’s radical hospitality is the best kept secret. Luckily for us, we have the best example and teacher of how we can fix that. Each time that we gather at the Communion table, we gather at a place where all can know safety rooted in Christ’s love. We experience safety in our bodies as we are nourished with food and drink that comes from God’s goodness in the earth, emotionally knowing that their entire authentic selves are welcome at this meal, spiritually knowing that God loves us exactly the way that we are right now. We experience (perhaps for the first time ever for some) a lack of barrier between us and a relationship with Jesus. Counterculturally to what we experience outside the walls of our churches we are saying to our guests, “We care about you.” When we offer a Gluten-Free option of bread we are saying that we care for your wellbeing. When we offer grape juice instead of wine we are saying that if you are on a journey toward sobriety, we care for your wellbeing. Even if we have never met you, we care about your wellbeing. That is Holy Hospitality.

There is someone in your town, city, even in your pews who thinks that God doesn’t love them. Maybe you are that pastor, that lay leader, that community to prove them wrong with your radical welcome and Holy Hospitality.


Most gracious of hosts, help us to preach and teach your love until we are experts in Holy Hospitality. Amen.

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at cochranem@sneucc.org.

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war, as well as the many landscapes that are currently embroiled in conflicts
  • For those grieving or suffering due to the ~20,500 gun violence deaths that happened in the US since the start of the year
  • For dismantling the stones of injustice and letting go of certainty
  • For those affected by the extreme weather 

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

This Week in History:

June 25, 1978 (45 years ago): First rainbow Pride flag premieres at San Francisco parade. [History

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

kristen provost switzer.jpg
Kristen Provost Switzer

Rev. Dr. Kristen Provost Switzer is the Pastor of South Congregational Church in Middletown, CT, a Clergy Coach at the Pastoral Innovation Network of New England (PINNE) and a former PINNE Fellow.

June 23, 2023
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