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Community of Christ encouraging ‘back to church’

There may not be a band playing and there may not be speeches by political figures, but a special day of recognition will be observed across the nation Sept. 12 with an invitation to go “Back to Church.”

The Community of Christ Church in East Brewton is joining the movement to help extend an invitation to former churchgoers in the area.

Gregory Wendling, a member of the church, said the day of recognition may give worshipers another reason to attend church.

“Most people go to church at Easter and at Christmas,” Wendling said. “We wanted to get another date established that will hopefully draw people to church.”

Wendling said the invitation extended by members of churches participating in the national day of recognition aren’t specific about which church to attend.

“Sometimes people just need an invitation to go to church,” Wendling said. “We are inviting people to our church, but the main idea is to invite everyone to attend church somewhere. Just pick a church and go.”

The reason for joining in the national event is simple, Wendling said.

“This is really something we wanted to be a part of,” Wendling said. “The message is just to get the Word out.”

Wendling said a large number of people leave the church each year for various reasons but many may return to church if they receive an invitation.

“Statistics show that three out of four formerly churched adults are willing to give church another try,” Wendling said. “People are busy and their circumstances tend to control their schedules. Research behind the movement has shown that 38 percent of people are receptive to attending church and 82 percent say they would be open to attending church if a friend invited them.”

On the Back to Church Web site, reports echo Wendling’s comments.

Although 83 percent of American adults identify themselves as Christians, only about 20 percent attend church on any given Sunday,” the report stated. “Yet, a study by LifeWay Research and the North American Mission Board of over 15,000 Americans found that 67 percent say a personal invitation from a family member would be effective in getting them to visit a church. Fifty-six percent say an invitation from a friend or neighbor would likely move them to respond.”

Wendling said Community of Christ Church anticipates a number of new people attending for the event. “We will have a little special service,” Wendling said. “We want our services to revolve around the Back to Church movement.”

The Community of Christ Church in East Brewton is located at 507 Forrest Ave. To learn more about the Back to Church movement, visit their Web site at www.backtochurch.com.