VIDEO: "Ebola attacks what makes us human"
Friday 28th November 2014Watch the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking about the Ebola outbreak and how churches and faith communities are responding.
The Ebola virus “strikes straight into the heart” of what it is to be human, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said today.
In a video recorded for a World Council of Churches (WCC) consultation on the Ebola response being held today in Geneva, the Archbishop stressed the “absolutely crucial” contribution of churches and other faith communities in responding to the crisis.
In the video, produced in collaboration with the Anglican Alliance, Archbishop Justin spoke of the "deep sorrow" he encountered on a visit to West Africa last month, where he met with the Chief of Staff of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in Accra, Ghana.
“You’re infected by the people you love most, and grieve for most – they are most dangerous to you when they’ve died.”
“This is a challenge to the very heart of what it is to be human.”
The WCC meeting brings together representatives of Christian health, development and aid organizations and UN agencies to learn from each other and seek ways of collaboration to escalate their efforts.
In the video, produced in collaboration with the Anglican Alliance – which is supporting the coordination of the Anglican response to Ebola in West Africa – the Archbishop said the way that churches grapple with caring for communities affected by Ebola “takes us right back to who Jesus is”.
The love of Jesus “goes well beyond anything reasonable and reaches to those who are struggling, who are dying, who are lost, who are in darkness.
“The person of Jesus Christ… goes into the worst of all possible places, in the worst of all possible conditions, and does so through our hands and feet and eyes and ears. But also does so by his Spirit,” he added.
Highlighting the need to scale up the international response, the Archbishop reflected on the need to overcome fears. “We must go by the science, not by the fear.”
He also emphasised the contribution of faith in partnership with government and other institutions, saying: “The role of the churches and other faith communities is absolutely crucial.”
Anglican dioceses, alongside other faith communities, have been active in the Ebola response in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, working closely with government agencies. Church health teams are working to strengthen health systems, while church leaders and volunteers are providing community education, support and pastoral care.