19 September 2011
Rt Revd Tim Stevens inviting
people back to church at a car boot sale
The Archbishop of York and a number of bishops are leading the
way in inviting millions back to church this weekend for Back to
Church Sunday 2011 (25th September). In addition to
meeting people where they're at, at a range of public events (from
Sunday car boot sales to jazz nights), they are encouraging people
to send friends invitations either in person or using social
The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, Tweeted an
invitation to come back to church today, Monday,
19th September. He said: "This Sunday (25th September)
is Back to Church Sunday. http://www.backtochurch.co.uk.
Why not invite your friends too? Pass the message on!"
Thousands of parishioners in over 4,000 churches are following
the call to action by inviting back their friends using specially
designed printed invitations, and are sending out an audio
invitation via the websites Facebook and Twitter, to add to the
150,000-plus people who 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.
The audio invitation, produced by HCJB
Global in Bradford, is available for download here.
In a new videocast launching this year's Back to Church Sunday
initiative, available at www.churchofengland.org
the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, says: "I'd
like to invite you back to church. You might be someone who's been
to church once or twice, to a baptism or a wedding or a funeral and
really quite liked what you found. Or you might be someone who used
to go to church regularly and then - I don't know - fell out with
the vicar or maybe you moved house and got out of the habit. Or you
might be someone like me who never actually went to church, wasn't
brought up in the Church. Well I'm so glad that someone invited me
and that I became part of the Christian community and learned a
whole new way of living life. Well Sunday 25th September
is Back to Church Sunday and churches up and down England are
preparing to give people a warm welcome. This is your
Those responding to the invitation to come back to church can
find their nearest Church of England church using www.achurchnearyou.com or
Highlights of events and initiatives for Back to Church Sunday
A new Back to Church Sunday radio advert is playing on Heart FM
from Monday 19th September, and the Bishop of
Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, has made a videocast
inviting people back to church. The Bishop also promoted Back to
Church Sunday at a car boot sale 'church' on 18th
September (covered by BBC Essex) and will meet shoppers at the
Lakeside shopping centre on the 19th September, on a
sofa outside M&S. A special page of the Back to Church Sunday
website is including an interactive map locating Essex churches
that are taking part in this year's initiative, at http://ww.backtochurch.co.uk/essex.
An entire school has been invited to Sunday worship as
part of this year's Back to Church Sunday. Every pupil from St
Alban's C of E Primary School in West Leigh has been invited to
join worshippers at the nearby St Alban's Church on September 25.
Headteacher Alice Wood is now creating a special children's choir
and a drama performance so that the pupils will also be
contributing to that morning's worship. St Alban's Church is one of
58 churches in Portsmouth's Church of England diocese taking part
in the national initiative.
In participating churches in Portsmouth diocese last year, there
were 13 per cent more worshippers in church on Back to Church
Sunday. One of them was Ann Jenkins, who was invited to Hart Plain
Church, on Hart Plain Avenue, near Waterlooville by her neighbour
Rosina Clark. "We've known each other for years, and when she asked
me, I said yes," said Ann. "I hadn't been to church for donkeys'
years, but had been thinking about it since losing my husband. The
church is welcoming, relaxed and friendly - very different to the
church I used to go to. I'm hoping to be confirmed, which was
something I'd never got round to doing before." Two others who came
back to Hart Plain Church last September will also participate in
an Alpha course this autumn and hope to get confirmed in
Bishop of Leicester, Rt Revd Tim Stevens, went to a large
car boot sale inviting people back to church on 18th
September, with customised T-shirts and balloons. (A picture is
available of the Bishop's visit.)
The Church of England in Lancashire has achieved a
Bishop's '100 Parish Challenge' to become involved in Back to
Church Sunday. The challenge was launched by the Bishop of Burnley,
the Rt Rev John Goddard, in the Spring, and means almost half of
the county's Church of England parishes will be involved in the
national initiative this year. Last year 26 took part. The Bishop
will outline his hopes and prayers for Back to Church Sunday on BBC
Radio Lancashire, and through other regional media, in the run-up
to September 25.
Members of over 80 parishes across Wiltshire and Dorset
are inviting friends and neighbours to a service on 25th September.
Most churches will welcome visitors to their usual Sunday service.
Other plans include combined Harvest Festival and Back to Church
Sunday services in parishes such as Harnham in Salisbury. In
Canford Cliffs, the entire Parish Electoral Roll will be invited to
tea in the Church of the Transfiguration at 4pm, followed by Songs
of Praise at 5pm. In Bradford on Avon, Holy Trinity Church will
host a Harvest Festival and All-Age Eucharist, a 9.30am service
featuring the Trowbridge and District Youth Band and local Rainbow,
Brownie, Guide, Beaver, Cub and Scout groups.
Cream teas, jazz music and floral displays will welcome
visitors to St Paul's Church, St Albans, Herts, on Saturday
September 24th, ahead of Back to Church services the next day. The
Hatfield Road church is rolling out the red carpet to welcome local
people for a free cream tea from 2.30 to 4.30 pm, when a jazz band
will be entertaining visitors.