27 September is Back to Church Sunday: Come as you are

This Sunday, half a million Christians will be inviting someone special to come back to church in one of the largest co-ordinated ecumenical evangelism events staged across Britain.

Churches across the UK and further afield will be offering an especially warm welcome at church services and events for Back to Church Sunday (27 September). Church members have been encouraged to personally invite someone they know to come back to church for special services and events on the theme of 'Come as you are'.

A number of churches are combining the event with their harvest celebrations. "Harvest is a time when some folk return to church for their annual visit to say 'thank you' and on this occasion they will find an even warmer welcome than usual," said the Revd Gill Newton, minister at Cheadle Hulme Methodist Church in Cheshire.

Derrick Norton, Evangelism Network Development Officer, said; "Back to Church Sunday is taking many people by surprise, because of the growing awareness of its success. Here is an event which accords with some people's interest in spiritual things, and which is an opportunity for those outside the church to find a way to return.

"We are encouraged to do what we know we should - to be welcoming. It starts with prayerfully and personally inviting someone we know to what is a fairly typical church service, but where we have planned a warm welcome for visitors. We know there will again be lots of good news stories, as people step out and allow God to use their simple acts of hospitality."

In Appleby and Dufton in Cumbria, people who come to church this Sunday will be invited to attend a 'Come as you are' course later in the year. Paul Dunstan, District Evangelism Enabler for the Cumbria Methodist District, said, "The beauty of Back to Church Sunday is its simplicity".

A 40-second radio advert promoting Back to Church Sunday will be broadcast on local radio stations around the UK, inviting people to take part.

Back to Church Sunday is a joint initiative of the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Salvation Army, the Church in Wales, Churches Together in Scotland and Elim Pentecostal Churches, as well as churches in Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada.

For more information about Back to Church Sunday, visit www.backtochurch.co.uk.

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