“Welcome!” It’s the word we use to receive guests into our home, opening ourselves to another’s presence or companionship.

There’s a reason “welcome” comes first in our Touchstones. Give and receive welcome.

Welcome sets the tone for trust to emerge, like playing middle C to tune a piano, a choir or an orchestra.

Welcome is the first step in acknowledging the presence and dignity of another person, and of yourself, too.

Welcome is how we move from isolation to community. Just ask Josh, a young man whose story illustrates the potency of an open-hearted welcome.

Josh was once an outsider at his school. He felt invisible, unwanted. Then one day he decided to hold doors open for his schoolmates… Watch his inspiring story in the video below.

What Josh did was more than politeness. It was a courageous act of integrity.

Instead of viewing himself as a nobody, Josh decided to ‘show up’. He took a chance to extend welcome to others, creating a stronger sense of belonging for everyone.

The first Touchstone, WELCOME, reminds us to extend and to expect welcome: to welcome ourselves, welcome each other, and welcome new experiences.

Welcome matters and yet it’s not easy. It’s a privilege to feel safe (not only brave) enough to be the one offering welcome. Across the lines of difference and identity that separate us, think about where and with whom we experience welcome and where we don’t.

When we can shift our stance – from self-protective fear to open-hearted vulnerability – we create the possibility for authentic connection. Welcome often takes risk, but when it’s possible to act from a welcoming heart, you might open new doors.

What have you learned about offering welcome?

How does it feel when genuine welcome is offered to you?

What if we offered welcome where and when it’s least expected?

With gratitude and best wishes,
Terry Chadsey
Executive Director

P.S. Experience the Touchstones in person, in depth, at a Courage & Renewal program and see how they can transform your own life and leadership.

P.P.S. Thank you to C&R facilitators Larry Petrovick and Erin Lane for sharing this video!

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