Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
Kingwood, Texas
Parish Handbook - Narthex Use Policy

Rationale for Policy:
1) Unique Space: Even unadorned, the narthex is a very beautiful, intriguing, and functional space, and is used for a wide variety of specific parish functions throughout the year. These events include Newcomer’s dinners, occasionally the 5:30 services, Taize, Evensong, Carols and Cookies, weddings and funerals, school functions, and Live Nativity Open Houses. Adding more elements that would have to be moved to and from the Parish Hall during these activities would be a hassle. And many of the current displays are not easily moveable, for example, the Sox Appeal display is very heavy.

2) Visitors: One of the most important things we do in our narthex is welcoming our visitors. Their first impression should be positive and welcoming, not chaotic or overwhelming. The Newcomers Station should be readily visible and reasonably quiet for talking with visitors and newcomers, answering questions, filling out visitor cards, etc.

3) Noise level: It’s already loud on Sunday morning before services; why draw in more activity and conversation? Ushers have a challenge quieting the crowd before the 10:15 service in order to maintain some sense of quiet in the Nave for meditation and preparation for worship. Adding to the current activity would not be helpful.

4) Size of narthex: Furniture or fixtures already in the narthex include chairs for people waiting for others, stand for intercessory prayer list, information kiosk, and Newcomers’ Station. In addition, the existing bulletin board space features our Vision, Mission, and Areas of Emphasis which is an important communication vehicle for the parish. A display case and signage on the west wall provide information on the locations of various activities and directions to facilities on our campus. With the size of our current membership, this is frequently a crowded space and it is difficult negotiating traffic between services.

5) Stained glass windows: The existing stained glass windows will soon occupy the narthex windows. To adequately appreciate these pieces we should limit the amount of visual elements in the narthex. Just as the old bulletin board space became unworkable and overwhelming visual clutter, we can create a narthex so filled with varied elements, that it overpowers the senses, makes for a confusing first impression, and might block the windows.

6) Visiting: We have been “training” our parishioners to visit in the Parish Hall between and after services with the coffee and refreshments there. We want to encourage traffic toward that end of the facilities where sign-ups and informative bulletin boards are also located. As the common sign-up location has shown, and as is the practice for most items currently, parishioners are learning that the Parish Hall and nearby hallway is the place to meet, greet, enjoy refreshments, sign-up, drop off, check out the bulletin boards, and purchase whatever tickets, etc. are currently on sale.

7) Determining who gets the space: Many groups promote their “causes”, e.g., ECW Auction tickets and collection baskets out for eyeglasses, cell phones, travel soaps & shampoos; IHN selling pins and signing up hosts; EYC Greenery Sale and Christmas Sox Appeal; Mission Trips; VBS; acolyte events; HAAM food drive and school supplies; LOTS clothing drive and Bibles and Blankets drive; choir trips; summer camp; Holy Trinity Episcopal School; stewardship; Rally Day; Live Nativity; Cancer support information table. If we allow one group in the narthex, how do you justify denying any another group?

The purpose of this policy is to maintain the narthex as a space relatively free from clutter and conducive to a variety of uses and activities.

Displays, tables, stands, posters, and other fixtures which promote organizations, activities, and events, or which collect funds for such events shall not be located in the narthex.

December 17, 2002, as amended January 1, 2003