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The power of a personal invitation - more than 150,000 respond to Back to Church Sunday

WELCOME

The Archbishop of Canterbury at Great Chart, near Ashford, Kent, on Back to Church Sunday 2010

More than 150,000 people have come back to church since the first Back to Church Sunday in 2004 - enough to fill Wembley Stadium and the Emirates Stadium put together.

Around 3,500 churches from participating denominations welcomed back 51,000 people on Back to Church Sunday 2010 (26th September), which by comparison is more than all those attending worship on a typical Sunday in the Diocese of Oxford.

The Bishop of Hertford, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, said: "For thousands of churches, and tens of thousands of Christians, Back to Church Sunday has become part of what they do each September. It's the shortest step in evangelism - invite someone you know to something you love - 'would you like to come to church with me?' And year after year, people are responding positively."

Statistical returns from participating churches suggest that an average of 18 people returned to each participating Church of England church having received a personal invitation. They were greeted with an especially welcoming Sunday service on the day.

One million people heard Back to Church Sunday radio advertisements, on Classic FM (in the Midlands) and Heart FM (Essex and Kent).

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 congregations from the Congregational Federation, Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, Church of Ireland, Methodist Church in Ireland, Baptist Union of Wales, Presbyterian Church of Wales, and Union of Welsh Independents.

Back to Church Sunday 2011 is on 25th September 2011 - more information on how to get involved in the annual initiative is available at http://www.backtochurch.co.uk/.

 

Notes

Back to Church Sunday began in Manchester in 2004, spread to Wakefield Diocese in 2005, nine dioceses in 2006, 20 in 2007, 38 in 2008 and all 44 in 2009.

Research by the Diocese of Lichfield after Back to Church Sunday in 2007 showed that, six months after the event, between 12 and 15 per cent of 'returners' had become regular members.

Of every three churches participating in 2010, one was a new Back to Church Sunday church, and 2 were joining for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th time.