Only one more week to make your church a back-to-church church
There are only seven days left to sign up for Back to Church Sunday. And churchgoers who have made new friends through local events for the Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Games now have a chance to invite them back.
The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, who penned sermon resources for churches taking part on Sunday, September 30, said:
"Thousands of people used the Church of England's online guides for the Games and Jubilee, and in so doing made new friends in their area. Now we're at the end of a summer of invitation, why let it stop here? There are three simple ways to invite friends old and new on Back to Church Sunday."
1. It's free to sign up, and churches need to register by Friday, August 31. There are invitation cards to help everyone invite a friend. For a typically sized church the pack costs £10. All the materials are fairly traded and supported by sponsors Traidcraft.
2. Registration means a church can take advantage of free resources including service ideas for adults and children. There are also videos to inspire inviters and logos and supporting art work to get the word out in the pews.
3. The Church Times is supporting the day for the first time with a specially commissioned giveaway section filled with stories and cartoons to intrigue and welcome the newcomer. They can be ordered (50p each) by calling Ruth Hunter on 01603 785 911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile in the Church of England Dioceses of Canterbury, Lichfield and Newcastle, and in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough, Back to Church Sunday 2012 will 'run and run'. A new season of invitation will test seven invitational moments from Harvest in October 2012 to Valentines in February 2013. Organisers will measure the response to the pilot series before deciding whether to roll out the idea nationally in 2013.
Since the first Back to Church Sunday in the Church of England diocese of Manchester in 2004, about 230,000 people have come back to church through the prayerful invitation of a friend.
For more about the Pilot Series click here.
Special Church of England website sections resourcing churches to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Games jointly attracted over 130,000 page views.