Women rarely announce that they are new, or that they are attending their first-ever retreat or women’s event. Attending a first retreat or event can be daunting, particularly if one is also new to the church and yet to get acquainted with women. It takes a lot of courage to attend an event where you know no one!
I would suggest that you identify those first-timers, and look for other indicators that she is stepping out of her comfort zone to attend your retreat or event. This may not be as easy as just looking for names you don’t recognize among those who have registered. You can ask each woman as she registers if they have attended a retreat in the past, or put a box on the registration form for the woman to check if this is her first time to attend a retreat. Upon registration, if a roommate is not designated, that could indicate that she doesn’t know anyone to ask to be her roommate.
Once you have identified the women who are new:
- Assign someone to call the woman before the retreat to answer questions and see if she has special needs or needs a ride to the retreat;
- Inform the greeters at the retreat so they can give her a special welcome upon her arrival and introduce her to others;
- Assign a “room hostess” to be their roommate and to sit with them at the retreat.
Have you thought of other ways to welcome those who are new?