12 May 2009

More than half a million people to be invited ‘Back to Church’

Churchgoers around world are set personally to invite more than half a million people to services on Back to Church Sunday. The event will be one of the largest co-ordinated ecumenical evangelism events staged across Britain.

Christians across the UK and further afield are encouraged to invite someone they know who used to attend church to come back on 27 September 2009.

Methodist President the Revd Stephen Poxon, said "This is a wonderful initiative and I encourage all of our Methodist Churches to be involved. We must also give thought and time to how we continue the warmth of welcome every Sunday of the year so those coming among us will want to stay to find friendship and deepening faith."

Back to Church Sunday was originally an initiative of the Church of England, but this year will be supported by the Methodist Church, Churches Together in Scotland, the Church in Wales, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, United Reformed churches, Elim Pentecostal churches and Anglican churches in Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada.

Celia Lawton-Livingstone was invited to St Luke's, Colchester, on Back to Church Sunday in 2008 by her friend Carole. Now Celia attends church regularly, has joined the worship team and hopes to be confirmed later this year. She comments: "I was surprised when I got to the church that morning. It was different to what I'd imagined, and the people were very friendly. I didn't feel like they were trying to shove religion down my throat, they let me make up my own mind. It was a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, just like one big family. I would recommend it to others: you never know where it could lead you. My whole life has changed completely in the last year."

The initiative is supported by a website (www.backtochurch.co.uk) and resources such as special welcome T-shirts and subsidised party packs of fairly-traded drinks and snacks, produced in partnership with Traidcraft.

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