Archbishop of Canterbury gives first New Year message

Posted Jan 2, 2014

[Lambeth Palace] Starting somewhere new is always a bizarre experience. There’s so much to get used to, and things come at you at such a pace. It’s been a huge year of contrasts. It’s had some incredible high points. One of them being the baptism of Prince George, and to be honest I had to pinch myself to think I was actually there.

And another one was my installation at Canterbury Cathedral, a wonderful service in a packed cathedral, very exciting, and a weight of history coming down on one’s shoulders.

And then there’s been other real high points, and one of them is today, coming here to this Church Urban Fund-supported center, the Ace of Clubs [where he recorded his New Year message for broadcast in the United Kingdom].

They care for people on the very edge. They enable people to find their way back into the mainstream of life when they want to. And that’s one of the greatest excitements of this job – being part of an organization that is in many places that’s holding the whole of society together.

Whenever Christians speak out on issues of poverty or social issues of all kinds, we always get letters saying “Why don’t you just talk about God and stop getting muddled up in other subjects?”

When I go to my Bible and think, okay, what’s God saying and how do I talk more about God and get closer to God, and encourage other people to get closer to God, the thing I find is that God says: Love me, and show you love me by loving your neighbor. And if you love your neighbor you’re going to be deeply concerned in the things that trouble them, whether it’s about heating bills, whether it’s about insecurity in families and the need for good community life.

The church is involved in those because we want to demonstrate that we have freely received the love of God and we want to share that with others. It’s not about politics, it’s about love.

I know it’s the New Year, and I don’t want to sound like Scrooge, but I never make New Year resolutions, I’m just hopeless at them. It’s not that they aren’t a very good thing, it’s just that I know I’m not going to keep them, and I have this vague sense that there’s no point in doing them.

Except there’s one I want to think about this year. I want to suggest this year that each of us makes a resolution to try and change the world a bit where we are.

Nelson Mandela said that dealing with poverty is not an act of charity, it’s an act of justice. He said every generation has the chance to be a great generation, and we can be that great generation.

I look around and I see many signs of hope, but also there are many communities, many families, many individuals struggling.

Perhaps our New Year’s resolution is therefore not just to do something slightly differently, but to set our eyes on changing the world around us. That would really change our country in the most amazing way.


Comments (4)

  1. Joyce Ann Edmondson says:

    We hear you, Archbishop! It’s not about politics; it’s about love and making a change where we are.

  2. My dear Archbishop – our Order was founded in1971 – The Paracletians, (U.S.A.) we live as active advocates, for folks in everyday life, and for each other. It is never over, however the one thing our Rule of Life requires is an active Prayer Life, it is from this life all ministry flows.
    We encourage our Brothers and Sisters to become the living, breathing active Prayers of the Church.
    Ministry without it would make us Social Workers wearing crosses!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us, in the Holy Spirit of God,
    John Ryan, O.C.P.

  3. Dr. Erna Lund says:

    Where is some Action Plan re the Diminishing population in The Holy Land–where our Founder and Dear Lord and Savior Jesus Chirst was born? As a reminder, the Christian population in the Occupied Territories/West Bank/Jerusalem is at Two(2) percent, previously at Twenty(20) percent a few years ago! It appears that there is no positive impact to resolve this critical issue, and that politics has taken precedence over any moral, religious concerns … Also where is the outrage on the attacks on the Christian communities in the surrounding Middle East area … Egypt notably! There must be an international call to all who profess and indeed hold positions of any religious, humanitarian focus for critical support for the Millions of Refugees in the crucial Middle East region. Where is the leadership in the Church at large,nationally/internationally/global for Justice in basic survival for the oppressed, voiceless and vulnerable??

  4. Stewart David Wigdor says:

    My book on the fulfillment of Law in the United States is called Miracle America Miracle. Law allows man into a Promised Land but Love takes man into Heaven. All the sufferring and tortuous dying of our Lord on a cross was to allow each of us into Heaven. I know forgiveness of our sins is accomplished by Jesus’s crucifixion for He Himself calls it a New Testament in His Own Body and Blood; but John 17 establishes He died that way to “enter us” and when; He and that soul can become alive within God. You cannot forget this. Other wise you will simply exist on earth forgiven of sin but not seek the Perfection of God within you. When I read Jesus’ words in John 17, I cannot imagine anyother name for it than my Lord’s Prayer.
    My writing on America is from the Vision of our Lord.

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