Sunday 26th September is ‘Back to Church Sunday’ a national (perhaps even international) campaign to encourage people back to Church.
Here is a positive view of this approach….
- People have assumed this country is secular with the growth of the New Atheist rhetoric and media presentation of church decline. However, the visit of the Pope has shown a strong national affiliation with Christian values still within the psyche of the population in sharp contrast to media presentation.
- A recent (large) study (Office of National Stats) has shown 71% of the population still self identify as Christian. 24.5% ticked the box of ‘no-religion’. Therefore a polite invitation to church might be the nudge needed.
- Not only has the number of participating churches increased between 2008 and 2009 so that approximately 20 per cent of Church of England churches are now taking part, but the average number of extra people per church has grown, with participating churches each having welcomed an average of 19 extra people compared to 14 last year. Research carried out by the Diocese of Lichfield after Back to Church Sunday 2007 found that six months later, between 12 and 15 per cent of returners had become regular members. The Church of England said that if even a conservative estimate of 12 per cent of this year’s returners continued into more regular churchgoing, Back to Church Sunday 2009 would have added another 9,900 people to pews across the UK. –Research and Stats at the CofE
- 1 in 17 adults are open to going to church if only churches reached out to them. (Tearfund research on church attendance 2006)