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27 September 2013

Personal invitations key to coming back to church

Personal invitations key to coming back to church

Churches all over the country are using Back to Church Sunday, 29 September, as an opportunity to encourage their congregation to invite friends and family back to church. This Sunday, it is hoped that thousands of faces will go to a church as a result of a personal invitation.

Seeking to unlock the potential in personal invitation, national campaign Back to Church Sunday, urges people to take a simple step in evangelism; inviting someone they already know to church.

Paul Bayes, Bishop of Hertford, said: "Back to Church Sunday is a fantastic opportunity for us to grow the Church. We know there are at least three million people in England who would come back to church if they had an invitation. And we know there are hundreds of thousands of Christians who want to invite their friends."

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: "I came to faith because someone asked me along to church. The fact that they had bothered to ask me meant that we had a conversation about what it means to be a Christian, why they were a Christian, why it mattered so much to know Jesus Christ and be part of his Church."

Back to Church Sunday aims at getting regular churchgoers to invite families and friends to a service. The aim is to reach the people who are not yet in church through the people who are. It began in Manchester in 2004, is now the biggest in the world and will involve thousands of churches both in UK and worldwide.

On 29 September, the BBC's weekly Sunday morning broadcast will come from Latimer Minster in Beaconsfield, Oxfordshire, as it marks Back to Church Sunday.

The minster was chosen because of its close involvement with young adults and young families and the emphasis the congregation has placed on being a home for those with no Christian background and those who are only just beginning to explore the Christian faith. Already local young adults and students have spent hundreds of hours in environmental restoration and repairs. They are hoping to become a centre for community, church, and pioneering discipleship both locally and internationally.

Rev Frog Orr-Ewing, rector of Latimer Minster, said: "We love our church, not as a building but as a dynamic and loving community of people on a journey together. For us, our church is our home, not just a Sunday destination.

"Back to Church Sunday is about giving people a personal invitation and that is so important for a younger generation who may not have ever truly considered the reality of God and would love to find out more if only they were asked personally."