Fellowship is a word used to describe an occasion when people gather to share and learn about faith and spirituality.
Extending an invitation to join the fellowship is the message of National Back to Church Sunday, observed today by a variety of local churches.
The invitation is manifested in two ways.
First, regular church attendees are encouraging others to join them in the pews.
A recent survey found that although 83 percent of American adults identify themselves as Christians, only about 20 percent attend Sunday services.
"Everybody needs a little reminder," said the Rev. Howard Scott, pastor of Hwy. 54 Church of God. "We're encouraging our people to encourage others."
In addition, three local churches will hold a joint worship service at 10:30 a.m. today in the Miller Performing Arts Center. The host churches are First United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church.
The message at the morning service will be delivered by Brian McClaren, a teacher and author who also will respond to questions at a 2 p.m. session that will include discussion on the emergent church movement.
"One of the hallmarks of the emergent church movement," according to the Rev. Daniel Hilty, pastor of First United Methodist Church, "is the belief that we Christians have so much to learn from each other - that each denomination, each congregation is just one part of the mosaic that is the Body of Christ."
The Rev. Doyle Sager, pastor of First Baptist Church, sees the Sunday event as a "perfect venue" to investigate concepts and meanings of spirituality and faith.
"We're asking people to come think and explore together," Sager said. "We're not selling a tradition. We're honest Christians tangling with bigpicture ideas."
The reminder has been issued and fellowship awaits. The invitation to go back to church on Sunday extends to everyone.