UK Churches 'Roll Out Red Carpet'

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Churches throughout Britain are trying many different methods to get former church goers back in the pews this Sunday.

Thirty-eight churches are participating in Back to Church Sunday. The annual event began four years ago as a way to not only welcome newcomers, but to get former members back in the fold as well.

Recent research has found that around 3 million people would come back to church if they were invited. Organizers in England expect almost 30,000 people to return to church this Sunday.

Members of St. Wilfrid's church in Cowplain took the saying "roll out the red carpet" literally. They rolled out a welcoming red carpet at the front door last week in order to draw awareness to Back to Church Sunday.

St Wilfrid's vicar, the Rev Paul Moore, said, "It's so easy for people who don't normally come to imagine that they'll be unwelcome intruders if they walk into a church service," he said.

"In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. We will aim to make them feel really at home. Sometimes people lose touch with church because of family commitments or personal circumstances and then feel it would be hypocritical of them to come back again," he explained.

"Our job is to persuade them that they are actually very welcome."

One bishop is even headed down to the local mine to personally hand out invitations to church services to miners.

"I'm looking forward to having a taster of what it is like to work below the surface," he said. "The coal mines are an important part of our heritage and many of our communities were established around the local pit … Our message this year is that everyone is a VIP and important to God - we are trying to extend our invitations as widely as possible."


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