Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Saturday, 27 September 2008 13:01 UK

Football fans told 'go to church'

Christian leaders in the Midlands have placed advertisements in football match-day programmes urging spectators to "return to church".

The Diocese of Lichfield placed its message in programmes at games at Stoke City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Walsall, Shrewsbury Town and Burton Albion.

They were coinciding with Back To Church Sunday, on 28 September.

Diocese spokesman Gavin Drake said: "It's actually quite easy when we try. Too often we don't try."

'Lot of effort'

The adverts were being placed in programmes for Stoke City's game with Chelsea in the Premier League and Wolves' match with Bristol City in the Championship on Saturday.

They were also being put in programmes for Walsall's League One game with Carlisle United, Shrewsbury Town's League Two encounter with Bradford City and Burton Albion's game with Forest Green Rovers in the Blue Square Premier.

Mr Drake said: "We've had research carried out that says that in the UK six million people would come back to church if somebody asked them.

"We put a lot of effort into being a welcoming church and that's OK once people are through the door.

"The Christian faith is a missionary faith. That means we should be going out and bringing people in."

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