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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Bishop's back-to-church campaign
Rt Rev John Pritchard
Bishop John wants to know why people have stopped attending
The Bishop of Oxford has launched a campaign to get more people across the Thames Valley to attend church.

The Rt Revd John Pritchard hopes to discover why people have stopped going and what might bring them back with his "Tell Bishop John" scheme.

He wants Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire residents to reveal their reasons for "avoiding" church by visiting his website or writing to him.

The scheme was launched to tie in with Back to Church Sunday on 30 September.

I hope to hear from as many people as possible, whatever their story
Rt Revd John Pritchard

Bishop John, who was inaugurated as Bishop of Oxford in June, said: "We know people fall out of the habit of coming to church for all sorts of reasons, sometimes simply because they move house or their family circumstances change.

"A bereavement, for example, can leave someone feeling uncomfortable about coming on their own.

"Sometimes people are simply embarrassed because they've missed a few Sundays.

"Whatever the reason, I'd like to try and understand and to say they are always welcome."

On Back to Church Sunday, a national campaign pioneered by the Diocese of Manchester in 2004 and piloted by The Diocese of Oxford in Berkshire in 2006, churchgoers invite friends and neighbours to come to church with them.

The closing date for Tell Bishop John contributions is Friday, 21 September.

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