Back to Church Sunday

From the Revd Peter Ould
The edge of St Albans Diocese
Canterbury Province

Dear Church of England Media Team,

I am delighted that you have produced a radio advert for Back to Church Sunday. Let’s pass over the fact that you haven’t written to any churches specifically telling them that this was happening to allow us to co-ordinate local publicity efforts with your national campaign. No, instead I want to raise an issue with your radio advert. Have a listen, and tell me the word that’s missing which is actually the whole point of Church.

[audio:https://www.peter-ould.net/wp-content/uploads/BackToChurchSundayRadioAd_2010.mp3]

Shall I give you a clue? His name starts with a J.

At the moment, all you’ve got is a very good advert for the local coffee house.

Very Sincerely,

Peter+

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6 Comments on “Back to Church Sunday

  1. Not surprising really. I was an the installation/induction of a priest in my deanery, and I went to show her the support of her fellow local clergy. The service seemed to have two distinct sides to it:

    1) The actual liturgy and vows, which were all thorough orthodox, historic Christian, full of great Gospel stuff.

    2)Beyond this, the "J" word was barely used or mentioned. Lots of wonderful words which made her sound like an amazing social worker, but little about the "priestly" role of proclaiming the Gospel and calling people to conversion and repentance – the role which John the Baptist had, Jesus, Peter, Paul etc., etc. ad infinitum.

  2. Spot on Peter.

    I understand that for Back to Church Sunday a particular church should not depart too much from what it would normally do on a Sunday so that anyone coming back to church in the following weeks will not feel unsettled or like they have been "duped". If the national message is not to talk about the Lord Jesus then people are being duped. It's good to be social, but we meet on the Lord's Day to worship Him who saved us from our sins, not to have a chinwag.

    I don't want loads of people back into Church in order that we can afford to pay stipends and contribute to clergy pensions. I want loads of people back into Church because they need to hear the good news.

  3. Cringeworthy though this is, I imagine the thinking behind it is to get the 'me' generation inside the building before hitting them with scripture. In which case 'Back to Church Sunday' is a bit of a misnomer. I think many people who actually used to go to church, especially older people, will get a bit of a shock when they see some of the changes.

    I would say this ad is aimed at the unchurched; in particular the young, or the lonely. In itself this is not a bad thing, so long as there is sound teaching.

  4. Having an interesting (well, maybe…) reaction to this as finding myself mostly agreeing with folk I'd usually disagree with :)

    in friendship, Blair

  5. It's all about self. Summed up in the quote "When I leave, I feel good about myself."

    Surely the point about "going to Church" is to feel good about God.

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