The first in a series of videos, A Plentiful Harvest, featuring both Archbishops on the Renewal & Reform programme is now live on the home page of the Church of England website and on YouTube. The series of videos will highlight the narrative of hope for the Church of England in the 21st century set out in the new Renewal & Reform web pages.
Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu have issued this joint statement today after the UK voted to leave the European Union:
On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union
The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.
The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.
As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.
The referendum campaign has been vigorous and at times has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage – being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.
As those who hope and trust in the living God, let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minister David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.
An article written by the Archbishop of York on the introduction of the new Living Wage challenging the new Living Wage that George Osborne has created, arguing that it is essentially an increase on the national minimum wage for over-25s and rebranded it the national living wage:
Last year, just after a certain supermarket announced their plans to pay a Living Wage, I overheard an interesting conversation in a different supermarket. The woman operating my till asked her colleague whether she would consider applying for a job with the Living Wage supermarket. She said no; she did not believe it was a real Living Wage, they had simply found ways to dock wages elsewhere – such as no longer paying staff extra for working on a Sunday.
Like that checkout assistant, many of us remain unconvinced by Chancellor George Osborne packaging up what is essentially an increase on the National Minimum Wage for over 25s and rebranding it the “National Living Wage”. Of course it is to be welcomed that Mr Osborne is increasing wages at the bottom level for over 25s. But let’s call it what it is: a new legal minimum wage for over 25s. It is not a living wage in any real sense; it is not paying workers what they deserve and it is not paying workers what they need in order to achieve a decent standard of living in the UK.
Christian Today is reporting that the Archbishop of Canterbury is to lead the biggest evangelism project in the UK so far this millennium:
Every cathedral, church and clergyman and woman in the land is being urged to share their faith and win new converts to Christianity.
Cathedrals and churches are being urged to set aside the week before Pentecost as a week of prayer for evangelism.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu, are calling cathedrals and other churches to use the week running up to Pentecost Sunday on May 15 to pray for new followers to Christ.
The entire Church is being urged to pray throughout the week for “all Christians to deepen their relationship with Jesus” in order to have “confidence” to share the faith. The aim is for “all to respond to the call of Jesus Christ to follow him.”
The two Archbishops are currently writing to all 11,300 Church of Engand clergy inviting them to “engage” with the project. They are being asked to organise round-the-clock prayer marathons, one-off events and other meetings and gatherings to help towards the evangelisation effort.
Five or six cathedrals will hold “beacon” events with services and events led by both Archbishops and some bishops, evangelical worship leaders such as Matt Redman, Tim Hughes and Martin Smith and in collaboration with 24-7 Prayer.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is calling for the UK to step away from their smartphones and put the heart back into Christmas – as the latest survey commissioned by Traidcraft, shows a quarter of the UK will check their work emails on Christmas Day.
- Nearly a quarter (24%) of the UK admits to checking work emails on Christmas Day
- 66% of people think that Christmas has lost its true meaning
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said:
“Christmas is a day of good news, a day of great joy and a day to give thanks. I would encourage all those not working on Christmas Day to focus on connecting with family and friends, to enjoy this time with loved ones. I love using social media and email because of the instant connection with the world they bring but have a ‘phone fast’ from work on this day!”
While a quarter of us will check in with our work emails, the Traidcraft survey results also show that we’re a nation of Christmas traditionalists who put human connection at the top of their Christmas list: more than three-quarters (77%) of people said that a hand-written Christmas card is the festive greeting they prefer over all others.
A similar amount (72%) said that spending time with family and friends was the one most important thing to them about Christmas. In a heart-warming gesture towards those who may be spending Christmas alone, around six in 10 people said they would call in for a cuppa to show someone lonely they care.
The Archbishop’s comments come as part of Traidcraft’s Show You Care campaign, which is calling on people across the UK to show they care and support its life-changing work by buying fair trade. When you buy from Traidcraft’s wide range of fair trade products, producers and artisans in some of the world’s poorest regions can be lifted out of poverty and supported to build sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families.
Archbishop John Sentamu in a speech at General Synod has called for “more equitable, more caring world” and questioned the effects of government’s welfare reforms:
In a long and often angry address to the Church of England general synod on Tuesday, John Sentamu said static salaries and rising prices had left nine million people living below the breadline at a time when the chief executives of the UK’s 100 biggest companies were earning on average £4.3m – 160 times the average national wage.
Sentamu, who chairs the Living Wage Commission, said politicians needed to stop referring to “hard-working” families and recognise that they were instead “hard-pressed” families struggling to survive despite their best efforts.
“Once upon a time you couldn’t really be living in poverty if you had a regular income,” he said. “You could find yourself on a low income, yes. But that is not longer so. You can be in work and still live in poverty.”
Reports of malnutrition and food poverty in Yorkshire “disgrace us all, leaving a dark stain on our consciences”, he said. “How can it be that last year more than 27,000 people were diagnosed as suffering from malnutrition in Leeds – not Lesotho, not Liberia, not Lusaka but Leeds?”
The effects of the government’s welfare reforms, Sentamu said, were “beginning to bite – with reductions in housing benefit for so-called under-occupation of social housing, the cap on benefits for workless householders and single parents, and the gradual replacement of the disability living allowance with a personal independence payment”.
“This is the new reality,” he said, “Food banks aren’t going to go away any time soon. Prices are rising more than three times faster than wages. This has been going on for 10 years now. And for people slipping into poverty, the reality is much harsher.”
If governments were powerless to do much more than “tinker” with the current economic trends, he added, the church would find itself doing even more.
Reflecting on Christianity’s long commitment to fighting poverty – from Saint Francis of Assisi to John Wesley, and from Gustavo Gutiérrez, the Peruvian priest and father of liberation theology, to the current pope – Sentamu said the Church of England had once again found itself compelled to speak up for the poor, and urged Anglicans to follow the example of the architects of the welfare state.
“They had a clear vision as to how things could be different,” he said. “In part, they were also tapping into the spirit of the immediate postwar years in which there was a great hunger to rebuild a more equitable, more caring world. It is that vision which we need to recapture today, but remoulded in a way which is realistic for the circumstances we face now.”
Poverty, the archbishop concluded, was “costly, wasteful and indeed very risky”. He said: “We in the church must make the argument that losing human potential at a time when we need all the capacity we can gather is hugely wasteful; that paying people below the level required for subsistence fractures the social contract and insurance, and that this is risky.”