Churches to offer a big welcome this September
Baptist, Methodist and Elim Pentecostal churches will be extending a big welcome to friends and neighbours this September.
Churches across England, Wales and Scotland will be taking part in the Free Church initiative, the BIG Welcome, which encourages Christians to invite someone they know to something they love on 23 September.
It could be a church service, a meal in a restaurant, or even a trip to the gym. Churches could host BIG Welcome events such as a curry or quiz night, or a breakfast.
The BIG Welcome was launched by the Baptist Union of Great Britain in 2010. Last year, 280 churches participated and an estimated 3,000 people attended church for the first time through the event.
The resources are undated so that they can fit into the calendar on another date. This year they are based around the parable of the prodigal son.
Mark Wakelin, President Elect of the Methodist Conference 2012-2013, wants Methodist churches to take part.
"I'd like to encourage you to be part of the BIG Welcome, and to be bolder and to trust that God can work through you, as he can work through me, in making people feel loved and wanted in a big wide world, where so much of the time we don't feel that at all," he said.
John Glass, General Suprintendent of Elim Pentecostal Churches, said: "The BIG Welcome is a hugely important initiative. It is a catalyst for inviting friends and neighbours to hear and experience the message of the gospel at any time of year. I would encourage every church in the UK to embrace the concept of this great initiative and make it their own."
Ian Bunce, Head of the Mission Department at the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said We are excited that this year we are doing the BIG Welcome in partnership with our friends from Elim and the Methodist Church. With resources based around the story of the prodigal, we are using the image of a puzzle piece to say to people, there is a space for you. We look forward to hearing the stories about how churches have used this exciting resource.