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

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

Churches across the UK and further afield will be offering anespecially warm welcome at church services and events for Back toChurch Sunday (27 September). Church members have been encouragedto personally invite someone they know to come back to church forspecial services and events on the theme of 'Come as youare'.

A number of churches are combining the event with their harvestcelebrations. "Harvest is a time when some folk return to churchfor their annual visit to say 'thank you' and on this occasion theywill find an even warmer welcome than usual," said the Revd GillNewton, minister at Cheadle Hulme Methodist Church inCheshire.

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

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

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

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

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

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