CoE uses sweet temptation for returning worshippers

 Anglican churches around the country will be making a special effort to entice former worshippers back to church this Sunday. Gifts for newcomers include a goody bag with brochures featuring different aspects of church life - and a free bar of Traidcraft fair trade chocolate. Hundreds of churches across the Dioceses of Derby, Ripon and Leeds, Manchester, Wakefield, Oxford, Guildford and individual churches around the country are taking part in the scheme. Resources they are using include invitations, posters and banners bearing the love-heart logo and the message 'wish you were here'. One person who came back to church last year was Stuart Dormand, 24, from Wakefield. Stuart got to know Elsie when they worked together in Leeds and she invited him to come back to church with her. Stuart had sung in the church choir as a boy, but he'd never considered church was for him until Elsie invited him. Stuart found the church, Christ Church, South Osset in the Diocese of Wakefield, warm and welcoming. He said: "Going back to church for me was the best decision I have ever made - I really love it. I would never even have considered it without the invite from Elsie." The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Rev John Packer said: "People lose touch with church for all sorts of reasons. But we know some are looking for a way back to church and a personal invitation can make all the difference." Researchers at the University of Staffordshire will measure the responses from people returning to churches and build up a picture of how and why people reconnect with church after a time away. Back to Church Sunday was first trialed in the Diocese of Manchester in 2004, when more than 900 people came back to church. In 2005, the Diocese of Wakefield joined in with similar results. Source: CoE Comms

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