Welcoming someone is a way to show kindness and respect, to help another feel accepted and at ease. When we welcome someone, we are letting them know they belong, without judgment or expectation. These quotations explore some different ways of looking at the value of welcoming.

Can a woman become a genius of the first class? Nobody can know unless women in general shall have equal opportunity with men in education, in vocational choice, and in social welcome of their best intellectual work for a number of generations.

— Anna Garlin Spencer

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.

— Audre Lorde

When visitors come to a worship service in my own religious tradition, a great deal depends on how warmly they are welcomed and whether they feel included or excluded by what they hear during the short time they are with us. We may have exactly one shot at communicating who we are to people who know nothing about us – or who think they already know a lot about us – but who, in either case, will remember us at the embodiment of our entire tradition, the prime exemplars of our faith.

— barbara brown taylor

Protect your passengers and monitor the systems that keep them alive, the file read. Provide a safe and welcoming atmosphere for all sapients present. Yes, they were someone else’s words, but she had no desire to change them. She liked those words. They suited her just fine.

— Becky Chambers, A Closed and Common Orbit

We are never too old or too wounded to receive healing waves of the personal delight of another. … at its best, it transcends being delighted with a particular happening and is instead the reflection to us, and often to one another, of an enduring bond that is bigger than any single occurrence between us. When we are small and see that look on our parents faces, there is such an affirmation that we are good, lovable, welcome. These experiences go deep into us and become an implicit foundation for drawing in warm companions throughout our lives.

— Bonnie Badenoch, The Heart of Trauma: Healing the Embodied Brain in the Context of Relationships

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, to feel alone or want to be alone is deeply unfashionable: to admit to feeling alone is to reject and betray others, as if they are not good company, and do not have entertaining, interesting lives of their own to distract us, and to actually seek to be alone is a radical act; to want to be alone is to refuse a certain kind of conversational hospitality and to turn to another door, and another kind of welcome, not necessarily defined by human vocabulary.

— David Whyte

You can sit with us.
You can live beside us.
You can play your music.
You can listen to mine.
We can dance together.
We can share our food.
We can keep an eye on each other’s kids.
We can teach each other new languages.
We can respect traditions.
We can build new ones.
You can ask for a cup of sugar.
You can ask for directions.
You can tell me when things are hard.
You can tell me when beautiful things happen.
We can listen to stories.
We can disagree.
We can agree.
We can come to understandings.
You can wear what you want.
You can pray as you feel compelled to.
You can love who you want.
You can sit with us.

— Elizabeth Tambascio

True Hospitality is welcoming the stranger on her own terms. This kind of hospitality can only be offered by those who’ve found the center of their lives in their own hearts.

— Henri Nouwen

Tolerance is a poor substitute for embrace.

— Jamie Arpin-Ricci

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.

— Jean Vanier

If it were not for guests all houses would be graves.

— Kahlil Gibran

Hospitality is the practice of God’s welcome by reaching across difference to participate in God’s actions bringing justice and healing to our world in crisis.

— Letty M. Russell

She’s the first person to smile at me today.
The first to make me feel wanted.
Understood.
I blink back tears.
It’s unknown how many students’ lives
librarians have saved
by welcoming loners at lunch.

— Lisa Fipps

The fellowship is not just a set of doors open on Sunday morning, but the commitment day after day, and moment after moment, of our hearts creaking open the doors of welcome to the possibility of new experience and radical welcome.

— Margaret Weis, The Church Has Left the Building

A kindly courtesy does at least save one’s feelings, even if it is not professing to stand for a welcome.

— Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson

A smile is the universal welcome.

— Max Eastman

The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.

— Naomi Shihab Nye, Red Brocade

The soul speaks its truth only under quiet, inviting, and trustworthy conditions.

— Parker J. Palmer

Hospitality invites to prayer before it checks credentials, welcomes to the table before administering the entrance exam.

— Patrick Henry

The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

— Rumi

If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer
If you’re a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

— Shel Silverstein

Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.

— Steve Maraboli

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.

— Walt Disney

Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?

— Walt Whitman

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
less familiar than the rest.

— Walt Whitman

A table-full of welcome!

— William Shakespeare
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