Back to Church Sunday
Diocese of Fredericton
A bit about ...
Back to Church Sunday is an opportunity for us to be intentional about inviting others to church on Sunday. It is indeed as simple as saying, "Would you like to go to church with me on Sunday?" We can even offer to pick the person up or go together. It is often easier to go to something with someone else and church is no different. Whether the person says, "yes" or not is really beyond our control. We just need to make the invitation and allow the Holy Spirit to work.
Making the invitation may feel awkward as most likely, we probably haven't said these words in the context of church very much. To help us prepare to get ready to express our desire to have others join us in worshiping God, here are some specific resources which may help.
Our Diocesan Stewardship Team has designated September 25 as Back to Church Sunday for the Diocese for 2016. But, in understanding that parishes and communities are different, another date may work better for your context. The Team encourages you to choose a date that is felt will work best for the parish to intentionally observe this together.
Some things to help us get ready ...
THE COMMUNITY, an online ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada is a place to get together electronically to talk about life in the church. There is a very good short conversation posted about about Back to Church Sunday found here. This is a good place to start planning for Back to Church Sunday.
Spirit of Invitation, through the Diocese of Toronto, has made resources available and have graciously allowed us to use these too! Six short videos (five to ten minutes each) can be downloaded. This "Invited" series can be used in the weeks leading up to Back to Church Sunday in church as a teaching resource, with vestry and during other parish meetings to support church leaders and equip them to extend the invitation. A written resource to go along with the series is also available. If there is only the opportunity to view one of these videos, Episode 6 provides a good recap of the material in the others and encourages the action of invitation. The episodes are titled: Table, Home, Joy, Us One, Go.
A Season of Invitation is the new approach to Back to Church Sunday in the UK. Recognizing that people are much more likely to come to church and keep coming if they're invited several times, they have moved to a seasonal approach with five invitational moments coming one after the other, including dates around Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Advent and Christmas. This site provides invitation and training resources.
Some older resources
Making Back to Church Sunday more than an annual event (The Anglican Journal, 28 September 2012)
A Priest's Guide to Back to Church Sunday
Michael Harvey's 12 Steps to Becoming an Inviting Church Videos
Michael Harvey's Blog