The Guardian has learned that children as young as two are to be targeted as part of a new campaign to recruit young people back to the church.
The Church of England is planning its first concerted drive to engage under- 18s after admitting that it is comprehensively failing to connect with children and teenagers.
AdvertisementProposals will be put before the general synod in February that include a blueprint to set up breakfast, homework and sports clubs in schools as well as working in publicly funded toddler playgroups to spread the Christian word.
A document outlining the proposals, seen by the Guardian, says urgent action is needed to shore up the number of children in church.
"We need to reconsider how we engage with and express God's love to this generation of children and young people, whoever and wherever they may be," it says.
Using frank language, it suggests the church is failing young people by being out of touch with their lives.
It comes as the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, prepares to deliver his annual Christmas message. It is expected that he will speak of his concerns about the commercialisation of Christmas and focus again on the ravages of capitalism following a year of continuing economic turmoil.
The document, Going for Growth, sets out a plan devised by the Church of England's education division that promises to make churches more "child-friendly" and to work towards every child - regardless of their faith - having a "life-enhancing encounter with the Christian faith and the person of Jesus Christ". It includes:
An information campaign to supply schools with materials to fulfil their legal duty to conduct a daily act of worship amid reports that many schools have dropped it.
Creating a new "social, moral, spiritual and cultural curriculum" for further education colleges.
It identifies environmental campaigns as a key concern of children and says it must do more to act on such issues in order to win them round.
To work in youth clubs and children's playcentres to re-establish links outside of church.
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