I’m not sure if you heard, but the Super Bowl was yesterday. In the last 10 days, some 150,000 visitors came to downtown Indianapolis to be part of the festivities in Super Bowl Village. That’s great for Indy tourism, but local businesses told their employees to hit the road or stay at home and work remotely. It seems if you don’t have to be downtown, you shouldn’t be there.
What do you do if you are Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in downtown Indy? Not just downtown, but inside Super Bowl Village. I mean right in the middle of it. I mean the famous zip line ends in front of the church. They had no parking problems this week because none of the roads by the church were open.
Do you cancel worship service on Sunday? Tell the staff to stay home?
Not this church. They trained 70 church members to be “tour evangelists” to show people around the historic building and during the tour they discuss the Catholic faith. Priests were available additional hours to hear confessions. They even had a life-size cut out of Pope Benedict you tourists could have their picture taken with. Who knows, if Tom Brady had his picture taken there, maybe that Hail Mary pass at the end of the game would have ended better.
Oh yeah, they also had a raffle. Marshall Parker won the $100 prize, Helen Clancy won $20. I haven’t heard if they served a Swiss Steak supper or not.
If the church had closed its doors and said it would just be too much of a hassle, no one would have complained. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly practically did the same thing last week. But the church seized the opportunity to embrace the visitors, welcome them into their building, to truly have Open Doors.
You may not have 150,000 visitors in front of your church this week, but are you as outgoing and open as this church? In addition to the Giants, big winners were clearly restaurants and hotels in the area, and I have to believe that a church with this culture of welcoming was a big winner as well.