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‘It’s not about politics, it’s about love’ – Archbishop gives first New Year Message

Wednesday 1st January 2014

This year let us 'set our eyes on changing the world around us,' the Archbishop of Canterbury says in his first annual New Year Message for 2014

Christians speak out and act on poverty and social justice because they have received the love of God and want to share it with others, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said today in his first annual New Year Message.

The Bible makes clear that God urges us to demonstrate our love for Him by loving our neighbour, Archbishop Justin said in a message broadcast on BBC One on New Year’s Day. 

“And if you love your neighbour 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,” he said.

“The church is involved in those things 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.”

Archbishop Justin recorded the message while visiting the Ace of Clubs, a community centre in South London supported by the Church Urban Fund, the Church of England charity working to alleviate poverty.

The centre provides transformative support for those who are homeless, vulnerable and otherwise marginalised in the local area. Last year it provided 20,000 meals, helped 92 people off the streets and into accommodation, and 36 people into rehabilitation from addiction.

Archbishop Justin visits the Ace of Clubs in Clapham, London, on 12 December 2013.

The Archbishop said such projects “care for people on the very edge. They enable people to find their way back into the mainstream of life when they want to.”

He continued: “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.”

The Archbishop's New Year Year Message is available to view on BBC iPlayer.

Read the text of the Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year Message here.


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