Back to Church Sunday – 26th September 2010
Even though September seems a long way off....it’s not too soon to be thinking about this year’s Back to Church Sunday resources. For those who are familiar with the project, there is a simple new way to sign up for resources on the national website at: www.backtochurch.co.uk
The website states: “Back to Church Sunday is now the largest single local-church invitational initiative in the world. It is based on the simplest and shortest step in evangelism - that we should invite someone we already know to something we love; invite our friend to our church. The initial focus was to invite ‘back’ those who used to attend, but we want to ensure that anyone who doesn’t currently attend can be guaranteed an especially warm welcome.”
Last year Church of England churches welcomed back 53,000 people on Back to Church Sunday 2009, a 71 per cent increase on 2008, as part of a growing initiative that saw more than 80,000 people come back to church across the UK on one Sunday in September. Derby Diocese has been part of this initiative for four years now and a number of churches have found it a valuable resource.
Statistical returns from participating churches suggest that an average of 19 people returned to each church after receiving a personal invitation. Parishes in each of the Church of England’s 44 dioceses were joined by congregations from Churches Together in Scotland, the Church in Wales, Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed, Salvation Army and Elim Pentecostal churches nationwide, and Anglican churches in Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada. Back to Church Sunday began in Manchester in 2004, spread to Wakefield Diocese in 2005, nine dioceses in 2006, 20 in 2007, and 38 in 2008, when an estimated 37,000 people came back across the UK.
This year’s resources focus on the same invitation to ‘Come as you are’ and there are posters, invitation and prayer cards and a DVD which can all be ordered by churches directly from the website. If you have not already registered your church there are packs available from the Mission Officer, Lakshmi Jeffreys, at Derby Church House (email@example.com; 01332 388687). This year Back to Church Sunday is on Sunday 26th September – anyone who would like to know more about how their church can participate and take the opportunity to be part of something much bigger, contact Lakshmi or check out the national website: www.backtochurch.co.uk
Comments from churches in Derby Diocese taking part in 2009
“People have seen the church burst into life, and most have played a hand in it. Everyone has benefitted from this event, a fresh vision for existing church members and a new start for the 27 new people who came.”
“It only needed something like this to get me through the door!”