Building on the success of last year's Friend-Raising Weekend, the UCC will hold "Each One Bring One Sunday", Nov. 6, 2011, where UCC members are asked to invite friends and family to join them for worship.
"Once again, we are asking our congregations to get excited to reach out and invite others to worship with them at church," says the Rev. Felix Carrión, coordinator of the UCC's Stillspeaking Ministry. "By celebrating this Sunday together, the hope is that this special effort will become a practice throughout the year. We hope churches will recognize that welcome and hospitality is a ministry in itself."
"Each One Bring One Sunday" falls during "Mission: 1," the UCC's 11-day campaign to raise awareness and aid to combat food-related injustice. During "Mission: 1," Nov. 1-11, churches will donate 1 million healthy food items to local pantries; raise $111,111 for national food-related justice ministries and $111,111 for East Africa famine relief; and send 11,111 letters about food-related justice to Congress as part of Bread for the World's "Offering of Letters" campaign.
"What a great opportunity for our churches to show their involvement in local, national and global ministry to visitors they've invited to worship," says Carrión.
Research suggests that three out of four people attend a church for the first time because they were invited. However, less than two percent of church members will ever invite someone to church. If only 10 percent of the more than 1.1 million UCC members bring a friend to church Nov. 6, some 110,000 additional visitors will be welcomed in church that day.
"This is an occasion to join together in a purposeful effort to share the gift of extravagant welcome," Carrión says. "We need to be intentional, consistent and excited about invitation."
The first weekend
of November traditionally has been designated as a time to celebrate the UCC's
God is still speaking ministry, culminating in a bring-a-friend Sunday. Resources are available for worship and to help churches prepare for visitors, including a special bundle ofpromotional items offered at a 50 percent discount.