A Church of England bishop issued a video message yesterday urging worshippers to focus on outreach to children and describing England as a "post-atheist" society.
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, sent the video-CD to 585 congregations in Staffordshire, the northern half of Shropshire and parts of the Black Country.
In recent years, the bishop has issued a message to congregations on Evangelism Sunday, the third Sunday in January, and this is the second year that the message has been delivered through a video-CD.
In his message, Bishop Jonathan said: "It continues to concern me that in some parishes I visit the young are so few.
"This should not be. England needs its young people to be brought up to know Jesus and his love. We may be a post-Christian society but equally we are a post-atheist society."
The bishop told congregations that the diocese will be considering the central support it provides for youth work and asked: "Do we, for instance, need a youth and children's missioner working across the diocese? Or should we appoint a youth officer and trainer for each area?
"Or should we ask gifted people to start youth congregations in different places and use them to inspire and train others?"
He concluded his message by calling for concerted prayer for the diocese on Ash Wednesday and asked churches to "pray and think about what steps to take to fill our churches with children again"