The concept of the Silent Greeter concept emerged in 2008 from the PCC's response to the Diocese of Norwich's Committed to Growth initiative. A key part of this response was how to make Our Lady Saint Mary a better experience for its many visitors. The concept was developed with pro bono help with the design but eventually stalled for various reasons. The concept was explained to the DAC in the following short document.
Whilst annually we receive many hundreds of visitors and pilgrims to Our Lady St Mary, which critically is always open during daylight hours, we are largely passive in the way that we greet and welcome them. We have reviewed our presentation from the eyes of a visitor and the PCC has agreed a plan of action to improve the way we communicate with visitors, to help visitors make sense of the building's history and architecture and of our Anglo-Catholic heritage and Christian belief, and to provide visitors with better aids to prayer.
A key part of the plan is the development of a Silent Greeter. The Greeter is envisaged as a solidly constructed noticeboard (usable area, say, 1.2m wide x 0.8m high) on lockable wheels placed in line of site of visitors entering the church. This can be wheeled to the side when the church is in use. As well as providing basic information about St Mary's, leaflet holders/boxes will be mounted on it and a ledge at its base will hold the Visitors' Book.
Additionally the Silent Greeter is designed to do away with the confusing and unsightly clutter at the back of church. The boxes will hold newsletters, information on our Christian belief, Church Guides and plans, and Gift Aid envelopes and information about giving. A cash collection box will be integrated into the Greeter with a slot for donations and payments. Storage space is provide at the base of the unit and there is an opportunity to use its rear panel for other display purposes.
This concept is being developed with professional help from SPP Group of Great Yarmouth with whom we were linked by Norfolk ProHelp. We also liaised closely with the Diocesan Funding and Partnerships Officer who saw our Greeter as a prototype for use in the expanded Norwich Diocese Open Churches initiative.
We are now at the stage of working with SPP in order to produce a detailed and costed production specification. This specification needs to determine exact dimensions, build materials, number and size of holders/boxes, and final copy. We expect the constructed cost of the Greeter to be about £1000.
South Creake PCC February 2009