WYD as big as the Olympics: Anglican Archbishop

Sydney's Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen has described World Youth Day as "very big, like the Olympics".

The ABC reports that he wants to build on the momentum, which has registrations already topping 200,000.

Archbishop Jensen told the Anglican Synod last night that his two-year campaign - Connect 09 - was aimed at attracting followers to local churches.

He said: "In 2008, World Roman Catholic Youth Day will raise the level of awareness of Jesus in the community and increase the sense of interest in him."

He said his vision is to "challenge the leadership of the churches to build bridges into the community, trusting in the word of God to be effective".

Meanwhile the latest data shows groups representing almost 204,000 people have indicated their intention to attend World Youth Day. This figure includes more than 63,000 Australians.

Chief Operating Officer Danny Casey said: "This indicates we are likely to exceed our target of 125,000 international pilgrims."

He added: "With the support of the Federal and State Governments, we are progressing well in our plans for accommodation, catering and event planning."

The leading source countries, with current expected pilgrim numbers, are:

Australia 63,398
United States 37,630
Italy 18,908
Germany 9,657
New Zealand 8,002

In other WYD news, SBS has won the free-to-air television rights, while Sky News will be the event's subscription TV partner.

Anglicans to capitalise on Catholic day (ABC News, 18/9/07)
World Youth Day 2008 announces host broadcast arrangements with SBS, SKY News and IMG Media (WYD 2008 Media Release, 18/9/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archbishop Peter Jensen (Sydney Anglicans)
World Youth Day 2008

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