Get back to church call

CHURCHES across North Somerset are urging people to come in and pack the pews as part of a national drive to swell congregations of worshippers

CHURCHES across North Somerset are urging people to come in and pack the pews as part of a national drive to swell congregations of worshippers.Back to Church Sunday is a project which began in Manchester three years ago in a bid to get more people through the doors of local places of worship.The idea is for churches and their parishioners to invite friends who have had some connection with the church in the past to come back. In Manchester the project was a huge success with around 900 people returning to services and the idea has now been rolled out countrywide.The initiative is now being piloted in Portishead on September 30, with local clergy urging people to attend one of the many Sunday services.The Rev Des Williamson, a member of the Portishead Team Ministry, said he hoped people would take up the opportunity to return to church.Rev Williamson said: "The idea is for our church members to invite people they know who have stopped coming to church for various reasons to return."Although in Portishead we do have a growing congregation, nationally the numbers of people attending church is decreasing."There are people who used to come who have now let it slip and others which have moved away and have not found a church in their new area."We have asked members of our congregation to ask a friend or relative who has not attended church for a while to come to one of our services."The Portishead team run a number of services at both St Peter's and St Nicholas Church each Sunday.Rev Williamson said: "Our congregation is very varied and we have members ranging from very young children to one man of 99."We deliberately try and make our services fit to what the congregation need and make it relevant to our communities. Some are run with a very informal atmosphere with interactive services and coffee afterwards."We welcome anyone who would like to return to church and look forward to seeing some old and new faces."For details of the times of services at both churches, please contact the church office on 01275 818895.Other churches across the district are also holding Back to Church Sunday services and further information can be obtained from individual church offices.

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