I now understand why the practice of (a) the minister of a church standing at the door to farewell people at the conclusion of a meeting/gathering/service and (b) his moving the parishioners along, is important.
It has become 'twee' in modern circles, it seems, as I've rarely witnessed it.
This evening, for the nth time in recent months I've taken a young relation to her church's early evening 'service' attuned to younger people. She found her friends and had a great time.
I saw a couple of people in my age group, but fundamentally experienced 'demographic dissonance'. It is observable as virtual invisibility of oneself to younger people.
The older people I saw were absorbed with the floor staff and each other. I waited for a short time, but not being happy to sit in a pew alone for an extended period, I left.
The senior minister was near the door, but absorbed in conversation with another staff member. Here's what should be a standard instruction for church staff: the service is not the time for business.
No minister was available to greet waifs such as myself, so, for the nth-1 time I left without being greeted or having anyone to greet.
So the old rite of the 'door-minister' and a polite handshake and some pleasantries took on its true relevance. It ensured no one left un-noticed, un-greeted, or un-befriended.
But, I omit, one person did notice me. I paused to glance in the foyer at the church magazine. A young girl, of about 18 months of age approached me and listened intently while I chatted with her! Maybe she was rostered on for greeting this Sunday. No one else approached me, so I waited for my charge in the car.