Archbishop of Canterbury: “ We all benefit from the gifts that refugees bring”.


The Archbishop of Canterbury writes, “ We all benefit from the gifts that refugees bring” in The Big Issue:

The scale of the problem we are facing as a global human family is astonishing. More than half a million people have crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean so far this year. They are fleeing war, persecution and deprivation in Syria and Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, and other countries.

As the number of people arriving in Europe continues to rise, nearly 3,000 people making the journey have drowned like Aylan or gone missing. My experience, having worked in this area for many years, is that you very seldom meet people who want to be refugees.

It is a desperate, awful, terrible existence. You leave home when the alternative is deathIt is a desperate, awful, terrible existence. You leave home when the alternative is death. In the Levant and Mesopotamia, families are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. They are taking the deep blue sea, and taking their children with them.

… The people of these islands have a long and wonderful history of offering shelter – whether it be Huguenot Christians, Jewish refugees, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese boat people or many, many others.

So as Christians we’re not just raising our voices – we are doing what the church always does: putting the love of Christ into action. Those Calais-bound cars were just the beginning: there is so much more to be done.

Archbishop of Canterbury signs letter seeking equality for mental health

Justin WelbyA campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues was launched today, backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, former Olympians, military officers and senior business figures.  More than two fifths of adult men under the age of 45 have considered taking their own lives, a YouGov poll has revealed.

Two hundred celebrities, politicians, business leaders and more have signed a letter calling for equality between physical and mental health in advance of the government spending round.

The new campaign is being led by Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat former health minister; Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street director of communications; and Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory Cabinet minister. Each has faced mental health problems himself or in his family.

It calls on the government to address the historic inequality between mental and physical health, highlighting lack of access to treatment, lengthy waiting times, inadequate crisis care, use of police cells and the 20 year gap in life expectancy between those with mental health problems and the rest of the population.

The signatories say:

“We ask for the same right to timely access to evidence-based treatment as is enjoyed by those with physical health problems. We accept, and urge ministers to accept, that this will require additional investment in mental health services.  Ministers have accepted that whatever improvements in attitude may have been made in British society, those who experience mental ill-health still do not get a fair deal from our health services. In effect they suffer discrimination in our publicly-funded NHS. This must be addressed.”


Archbishop of Canterbury on the refugee crisis

In a statement on the refugee crisis facing Europe and the Middle East, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said today:

Justin Welby

“This is a hugely complex and wicked crisis that underlines our human frailty and the fragility of our political systems. My heart is broken by the images and stories of men, women and children who have risked their lives to escape conflict, violence and persecution.

“There are no easy answers and my prayers are with those who find themselves fleeing persecution, as well as those who are struggling under immense pressure to develop an effective and equitable response. Now, perhaps more than ever in post-war Europe, we need to commit to joint action across Europe, acknowledging our common responsibility and our common humanity.

“As Christians we believe we are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34), and to seek the peace and justice of our God, in our world, today.

“With winter fast approaching and with the tragic civil war in Syria spiralling further out of control, we must all be aware that the situation could yet worsen significantly.

“I am encouraged by the positive role that churches, charities and international agencies are already playing, across Europe and in Syria and the surrounding areas, to meet basic humanitarian needs. These efforts may feel trivial in the face of the challenge, but if we all play our part this is a crisis that we can resolve.

“We need a holistic response to this crisis that meets immediate humanitarian need while tackling itsunderlying drivers. I commend the UK Government for its strong commitment to the world’s poorest people through the delivery of the aid budget. It has shown global leadership by providing £900 million in aid since 2012 to the crisis in Syria. It has also shown moral leadership in using Royal Navy ships to save the lives of hundreds who have tried to make the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean.

“I hold in my heart particularly those who are most vulnerable in conflict, and those who we have a special duty to protect. In the past, the Government has rightly sought to provide sanctuary to unaccompanied children, women and those who have been victims of, or are at risk of, sexual violence. I welcome this, while urging a renewed commitment to taking in the most vulnerable.

“The Church has always been a place of sanctuary for those in need, and Churches in the UK and across Europe have been meeting the need they are presented with. I reaffirm our commitment to the principle of sanctuary for those who require our help and love.

“The people of these islands have a long and wonderful history of offering shelter and refuge, going back centuries – whether it be Huguenot Christians, Jewish refugees, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese boat people or many, many more.

“It has always been controversial at the time it happened, always been seen as too difficult. Yet each time we have risen to the challenge and our country has been blessed by the result.

“We cannot turn our backs on this crisis. We must respond with compassion. But we must also not be naïve in claiming to have the answers to end it. It requires a pan-European response – which means a commitment to serious-minded diplomatic and political debate, but not at the expense of practical action that meets the immediate needs of those most in need of our help.”

Listen to Archbishop Justin Welby speaking to the BBC about the refugee crisis

Archbishop Justin Welby’s lecture on evangelism

Justin Welby lecture

Recently the Archbishop of Canterbury has set out his vision for a Church in which every Christian shares “the revolutionary love” of Jesus Christ.  He begins with an incredibly simple and powerful statement:

I want to start by saying just two simple sentences about the church. First, the church exists to worship God in Jesus Christ.

Second, the Church exists to make new disciples of Jesus Christ. Everything else is decoration. Some of it may be very necessary, useful, or wonderful decoration – but it’s decoration.

You can read the full text of his lecture here.

Archbishop invites young Christian adults to spend year praying at Lambeth Palace

Justin WelbyThe Archbishop of Canterbury has announced this new initiative today:

Archbishop Justin Welby is opening up Lambeth Palace to adults aged 20-35 to spend a year living, praying and studying together as a radical new Christian community 

In a unique experiment the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is to open up Lambeth Palace in London to Christians aged 20-35 – inviting them to spend a year living, studying and praying at a historic centre of the Anglican Communion.

Launching in September 2015, the Community of St Anselm will gather a group of adventurous young adults from all walks of life, hungry for a challenging and formative experience of life in a praying community.

The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining part-time. The year-long programme will include prayer, study, practical service and community life.

Members of the Community will live in a way the ancient monastics would recognise: drawing closer to God through a daily rhythm of silence, study and prayer. But, through those disciplines, they will also be immersed in the modern challenges of the global 21st century church.

Lambeth Palace is in the process of recruiting a Prior to pioneer this new venture and direct its worship and work. The Prior will work under the auspices of the Archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community.

Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Stanley Hauerwas reminds us that the church should always be engaged in doing things that make no sense if God does not exist. The thing that would most make no sense at all if God does not exist is prayer. Living in a praying community is the ultimate wager on the existence of God, and is anything but comfortable or risk-free. Through it people subject themselves to discipline, to each other in community, and, above all, to God.

“I expect this venture to have radical impact – not just for the individuals who participate but for life at Lambeth, across the Church and in the world we seek to serve. This is what we expect in following Jesus. I urge young people to step up: here is an open invitation to be transformed and to transform.”

The Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Revd Dr Jo Wells, said: “Archbishop Justin is passionate about prayer and about community. The renewal of prayer and Religious Life is the first of his three priorities, and that is what the Community of St Anselm is all about.

“We are inviting people from all around the Anglican Communion – and beyond – to live a year in God’s time. There are no qualifications for joining the Community except a longing to pray, to learn, to study together the things of God, and so to be stretched in body, mind and spirit.”

“Archbishop Justin longs that Lambeth Palace be not so much a historic place of power and authority, but a place from which blessing and service reach to the ends of the earth.”

To find out more, visit:

Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013

Diocese of Winchester

This last week I was privileged to join with 200 other Diocesan Synod members and guests at the Winchester Diocese Synod Conference at The Hayes.  God did some truly amazing things as we talked, prayed, worshiped and listened together – uniting such a diverse group of people around four priorities for the next three to five years is no small miracle.

Below are the links to all my live-blog posts from the different sessions:

Please remember all of these blogs were written live and so won’t always be 100% accurate, and may contain typos and spelling mistakes. For further information about the Diocesan Synod Conference check out the Diocese of Winchester website.

Winchester Diocesan Synod Conference 2013 – Session 1

Diocese of Winchester

This is a live blog – apologies for any spelling mistakes and/or typos

Welcome from Archbishop Justin Welby

Very exciting to hear all the things in the diocese, and to hear it sharpening it’s focus on the mission.  Look forward to learning from you as you go forward in this.

  • Living radically in the world: not cutting ourself off, living in our own holy huddle.  The work of the Street Pastors in Southampton is a classic example of being a mission shaped diocese.  When we are utterly engaged in the life around us we are most likely to find ourselves serving the cause of Jesus.  Discard ruthlessly those things that make us inward looking.
  • Being an incredibly thoughtful group of Christians: being in the world involves looking critically at the baggage we bring, and the baggage the world brings and not tripping ourselves up over it.
  • Rooted in Jesus: a commitment to common and individual prayer, with an every increasing love for Jesus.

Serve through making people jealous by having fun and showing what God is

Winchester has an incredible link of overseas, so it is not the Winchester church, or the English church, but the global church, be conscious of this.  Share in the joys and the sorrows of the Church of England.

Don’t take anything too serious apart from worship, everything else is pretty humorous, especially ourselves, let’s go away caught up not on where we are but on where we could be.

Bishop Tim – Missionary God; Missional Church

We have the enormous privilege of becoming like God through participating in His mission.  Becoming a mission shaped diocese will take us to the very depths of who we are and what we can become.  The Analogy of God’s Mission: Becoming a Mission-Shaped Diocese.

Contexts and Constants

Everyone says this about their times, these are amazing changes, Phyllis Tickle says we are in the change that happens once every 500 years and so we are in this change, globally, at the moment.

The Acts of God challenge us to have a growth in confidence as we see God is in mission.  We have seen a change in facts and values; where is the relationship between morality and facts.  God is excluded from so much, and yet many would say you can see .  We are back, and religion has to be taken into account – the comeback kid against secularist theory.

Mission shaped-church means we have to understand our culture better and learn how to communicate better.  We are in a cross-cultural mission within our own culture which is the first time ever, especially for Westerners.

We are in the process of change-making – we have a generational opportunity that we haven’t seen for many decades, could look at change for the generations behind us.  That means reflecting on our governance, management and strategy.

There are some constants (A. Walls): Jesus – constant maong us; connected to Israel – very important for us to remember that the history of Israel, and the Old Testament is important ofr us to reflect on; part of the global community as the church; scripture and sacraments.

Mission-Shaped Diocese

God in society, not only in just and/or personal faith but for Christianity to be in the marketplace as change makers.  We are not alone, the new Chief Rabbi has spoken on “transform communities” and “grow”.

Built into the role description of all news bishops as the Five Marks of Mission and the Three Quinquennium Goals.  The Church is committed to this agenda, as is Bishop Tim:

  • Passionate personal spirituality
  • Pioneering faith communities
  • Prophetic global citizens

We are called to be like God, through His mission.

We need to be more self-conscious of what our diocese is like to belong to, what is our strategy, where are we going, how are we structuring ourselves os we can be the people we are.

Filled with the Fullness of God

Using Ephesians 3:14-21 as a prayer for the Conference.  If we understand the fullness of God we will naturally walk in the path of mission.  Paul’s prayer is like Jesus’ prayer in John 17 – to fill and to fulfill is a strong missional theme.  God fills and fulfills and does it again and again, overcoming anything and everything through his love.

Been on holiday to Africa – reminds hims of the vitality of life.  God’s love is simply overflowing.  Vital for us if we are to understand God as father of all – sharing God’s life with all.  Vital for us if we are to understand God as father of all – sharing God’s life with all.

God can and does act – versus a practical atheism.  God acts through Christ by the Spirit – that Triune understanding is imperative.

God acts with us personally, corporately, and globally.

Deep, Wide, Long, High: Sharing the love of God

  • Deep with Jesus and his mission.  Bishop Tom will lead us in reflections on how we can go deep with Jesus if we are willing.
  • Wide: personal, corporate and public – the calling that we have because of the love of God
  • Long: strategic and well resourced for the long run
  • High: Spirit of the Ascended Lord – giving himself in all that he is by his Spirit to us.

To do this takes risks, uncomfortable, and challenging.