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Alpha youth leader not concerned by Anglican 'extinction' threat

The Youth Development Co-ordinator at Alpha says the Church won't become extinct even if numbers continue to dwindle.

Tom Clark was reacting to comments by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey.

Speaking at the Shropshire Light Conference in Shrewsbury he said: "As I look at the church today the most urgent and worrying gap is in young peoples work. 

"So many churches have no ministry to young people and that means they have no interest in the future. 

"As I have repeated many times in the past we are one generation away from extinction."

His comments come as numbers at congregations across the country continue to fall. In the 2011 census, 59% of those living in England and Wales identified themselves as Christians. Ten years earlier it stood at 72%.

Speaking to Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour Tom Clark used the words of Jesus to explain why the Church will never die out. 

In his address Lord Carey went on to say that the Church needs to reach out to young people to secure the Church's future. He said: "We have to give cogent reasons to young people why the Christian faith is relevant to them.  "For most of us, our hearts were touched when we were young and that precious touch we should not hold from our young people."

Rt Revd Frank White is the Assistant Bishop of Newscastle. He tells Premier those in the Church work best when under threat.

Lord Carey's comments come as the Church of England's Governing body - the General Synod - approved a motion to "re-evangelise" the country. A new Task Group is to be set up to help dioceses reach out to people in their communities. Speaking at Synod, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu called on members to put evangelism at the top of the agenda.

He said: "Next to worship, witness is the primary and urgent task of the Church. "Compared with evangelism everything else is like re-arranging furniture when the house is on fire. "Making disciples is at the heart of our Christian faith and our Anglican tradition."

Synod member Revd Canon Jonathan Ford tells Premier he's unhappy at the timing of Lord Carey's comments. 

 The new Task Group will include the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and up to ten other nominated members. It'll look to meet between four and six times a year.

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