BY Lindsay Owens
---- — Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Washington will be participating in Back to Church Sunday on Sept. 15. Rev. George Qualley said his church has participated in the national movement in previous years.
“This will be our third year participating,” said Qualley. “The program was started four years ago and we are currently the only church that participates in the area.”
Back to Church Sunday is a coast-to-coast initiative to “invite America back to church” according to a release from www.backtochurch.com. About 20,000 churches are expected to participate this year and nearly 2 million church visitors are expected to be in attendance. When the initiative was first started, a survey of 15,000 adults determined that 63 percent of those surveyed would attend church if a personal invitation from a friend or neighbor was extended and 67 percent would attend church if they the were invited by a family member.
In the previous three years, it is estimated that 7.5 million family, friends and neighbors had been invited to church for the event.
Good Shepherd will have a special service at 9:30 a.m. Sunday that will include a traditional worship service, great music, and a contemporary message that will also involve children.
The American Religious Identification Survey showed that 83 percent of American adults identify themselves as Christians but another survey by the Barna Group showed that only about 20 percent of Americans actually attend church on any given Sunday. “The whole goal is to get people to come to church, weather they are new to town or just looking for a new church home, we want them to come and feel welcome,” said Qualley.
Back to Church events can be held year-round but many churches chose to take part in the national Back to Church Sunday event. The organization, which has an interactive Facebook page, also lists a roster of participating churches across the country.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church is located just off SR 57 N. at 1002 1/2 N.E. Sixth St. in Washington. For more information on Back to Church Sunday at Good Shepherd, contact Rev. Qualley at 254-0954 or find Back to Church Sunday on Facebook.