Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Friendly Welcome in Annapolis

Have you ever been to Chick and Ruth’s Delly in Annapolis, Maryland? Today my husband and I took a little day trip to Annapolis and stopped in at Chick and Ruth’s for lunch. (and, yes, D-e-l-l-y is the correct spelling!).

We found Chick and Ruth’s Delly in the late 80’s while on a little vacation with our kids. Chick himself was living at the time and running the delly with his usual friendly banter and gusto. As we enjoyed a delicious breakfast with our children, Chick made the rounds of the tables like a doting grandfather, engaging customers in conversation and ensuring that everyone cleaned their plates. We received such a warm, gracious welcome we eagerly stopped by on subsequent trips to Annapolis and always found the visit like returning home to family overjoyed by the sight of you.

Today was no different. Though Chick and Ruth are gone, their memories and traditions live on with their son Ted and his wife Beth. The Delly was bustling as usual with busy managers, friendly wait staff and busy cooks—and of course, with happy, satisfied customers. Managers, whose eyes constantly roved the restaurant anticipating needs, directed us to a seat beside a fresh-faced, college-aged couple with whom we shared bits of conversation and a bottle of ketchup. Our multi-tasking waitress offered us a wide smile, good recommendations, and attentive service, despite the lunch rush.

Chick and Ruth’s Delly is a unique delicatessen that has lasted through the years not only because it serves tasty, feel-good food, but, due to the Levitt’s offer of lasting, genuine friendship to the people who enter their doors. Their interest, love, and concern shows in the amiable attitude of their staff, the vigilance and accommodation of their managers, the homey layout of the deli, and in the wholesome variety of their menu.

Our experience got me to thinking. Am I this welcoming in our church on Sunday mornings? Do I show authentic interest in the person who sits next to me for worship? Do I let my glance slide over visitors as though I didn’t quite see them as I look for my friends?

God’s Word speaks directly to us about welcoming others:

  •  “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)
  •  “I was a stranger and you received me in your homes . . . whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!” (Matthew 25:35)
  •  “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2).

Maybe we can learn from the kind of hospitality that Chick and Ruth’s Delly in Annapolis exemplifies:

  • A quality product: We offer a relationship with our God, who can meet every need!
  • Capable managers: Letting Jesus take charge puts our ministry into hands scarred with the greatest labor of love.
  • Amiable workers: When what we do is out of gratitude to God and genuine interest and concern for others, our face, our demeanor and our words can show it.
  • Comfortable atmosphere: Does our church offer worship services with both traditional and contemporary music styles? Is there a choice of settings (sanctuary, fellowship hall, chapel) for people to choose from? Are there safe places for a visitor's little ones?
  • Warm welcome: It's easy to be friendly. Reach out a hand, ask a question or two, offer to sit with newcomers, direct visitors to restrooms, Sunday school classes, etc.
  • Extended Hospitality: Look for these visitors next week, call them during the week, or invite them to lunch following church.
Tackling even one aspect of welcoming visitors will mean so much to the stranger who feels like a deer caught in the headlights. Let’s take God at His Word! 


©2011 Pamela D. Williams


  1. What a ministry the "Delly" offered in such a tangible way. I wonder if we all would put that sort of effort into our daily lives what this world would become. Hospitality doesn't have to be big, it can be all the little details that we often overlook day-to-day. Thanks for this post.

  2. Pam, this was WONDERFUL! I loved the analogy between the delly and church. Wow. I need to put this into practice on Sunday morning and all through the week. I pass people on my walks and I don't smile or anything.

    Good reminder of how we are to share Christ's love. Thank you.

  3. This is wonderful. I love what you got out of it. We can learn so much (and gain so much) from simple hospitality because it is God's welcoming way.

  4. Love your Biblical lesson rooted in the Delly life! Wonderful, encouraging, and convicting! Thanks!

  5. Fantastic analogy, and I love great analogies! Thanks for sharing this wonderful list!

  6. Great post, Pam, full of wisdom and direction on making others feel welcome at church. The Scriptures you selected are perfect to highlight the Lord's call in this area.
    I am going to make sure I put this to use this Sunday!
    Thank you so much.

  7. How refreshing, and so incredibly true! Being hospitable, which the dictionary defines as "given to generous and cordial reception of guests," is something Christians are commanded to do. We can certanly learn and benefit from the folks at your "delly". :)


  8. Wow, isn't it amazing that we can glean lessons from all types of places. Definitely food for thought.

  9. Donna: You are so right--hospitality doesn't have to be big.
    Dawn: I have caught myself doing the very same thing--passing people without acknowledging them. Guess we all have room for improvement.
    Lynda: I love how God can speak through a donkey, a delly, or whatever will get our attention.
    Tyrean and Rita: Thanks for your kind words! So glad you stopped by and found something useful.
    Janice and Denise: Looks like we are all going to be taking a lesson from Chick and Ruth!

  10. "Food for thought." I like your clever comment on the delly post, Wanda!

  11. I love the way you related Chick and Ruth's welcoming to the welcoming of the church. The analogy makes it easy to remember to be welcoming to visitors and regular members alike.

    I also really appreciate that your article is so full of helpful tips on being friendly and welcoming.