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

Churchgoers around world are set personally to invite more thanhalf a million people to services on Back to Church Sunday. Theevent will be one of the largest co-ordinated ecumenical evangelismevents staged across Britain.

Christians across the UK and further afield are encouraged toinvite someone they know who used to attend church to come back on27 September 2009.

Methodist President the Revd Stephen Poxon, said "This is awonderful initiative and I encourage all of our Methodist Churchesto be involved. We must also give thought and time to how wecontinue the warmth of welcome every Sunday of the year so thosecoming among us will want to stay to find friendship and deepeningfaith."

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

Celia Lawton-Livingstone was invited to St Luke's, Colchester, onBack to Church Sunday in 2008 by her friend Carole. Now Celiaattends church regularly, has joined the worship team and hopes tobe confirmed later this year. She comments: "I was surprised when Igot to the church that morning. It was different to what I'dimagined, and the people were very friendly. I didn't feel likethey were trying to shove religion down my throat, they let me makeup my own mind. It was a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere,just like one big family. I would recommend it to others: you neverknow where it could lead you. My whole life has changed completelyin the last year."

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