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February 2015

Reflections on Dresden

Saturday 14 February 2015

Dresden on the 70th anniversary of the allied bombing is a place of deep emotion and sorrow. The Frauenkirche, the great church in the central square, destroyed on the night of 13th February 1945 and rebuilt after the liberation from Communist rule, is full much of the day, and in the evening it is a place of quiet reflection as hundreds of people come to pray, listen to music and stories of reconciliation and light candles. During the day there had been a powerful ceremony with contributions from the cities of Coventry, Rotterdam and Warsaw among others.

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January 2015

On tweeting and touching

Wednesday 28 January 2015

In a process of reconciliation in which I was involved recently, one of the questions that people were asked (quite a standard question in these circumstances where the disputes are within the church) was, “What has this dispute done to your soul?”

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October 2014

Survivors of abuse are never the ones to blame

Wednesday 01 October 2014

It is well known that one of the issues we are facing across our society and, most shamefully, in the churches, is the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. I tend to see some of the worst examples of what we have done as a Church over the years. Every time it is as awful and appalling and shameful.

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April 2014

A Christian country?

Thursday 24 April 2014

History provides as many uncomfortable facts as science. Neither can be ignored if anyone is going to talk sense. Last week, the Prime Minister wrote rather movingly in the Church Times about his sense of this as a Christian country.

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December 2013

Reflections on World AIDS Day

Monday 02 December 2013

Yesterday was World AIDS Day. In this blog the Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on what has been achieved in the global response to HIV/AIDS, and what challenges remain 

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September 2013

Pray for hostages - and their captors

Monday 23 September 2013

I am praying today for all those who remain hostage in a shopping mall in Nairobi, as well as for their families and friends waiting anxiously for news. I’m praying too for their captors, that they would see and understand that hostility and violence will never be allowed to have the last word.

There is nothing new about taking people hostage – and the more innocent the better, as it gets the kidnappers more leverage. The problem is that while initially there is much media coverage, eventually we forget the victims: they disappear first from the front page, then from any page, and finally even from memory.

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August 2013

Turning words into reality

Monday 12 August 2013

I’ve always liked reading Rudyard Kipling, especially his short stories. But I've never liked his poem IF, even though it may be the best known – and indeed has on several occasions been voted our nation’s favourite. It’s always felt rather patronising and cringe inducing, not least for that last line, ‘And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!’

However, it does include a healthy dose of perspective on success and failure, which I’ve come back to recently. 

Over the last few weeks, since I made some comments on pay day lenders, our small correspondence team at Lambeth Palace has been flooded with letters and emails. We receive some 25,000 letters a year, and whether it’s on inter faith or sexuality issues, the tone is often very critical. The sheer volume means I can only deal personally with a small proportion, and the challenge always is to pay attention and ask myself, does the writer have a point? But on this issue, the comments have been overwhelmingly positive.

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When Christ is present, our differences break down

Sunday 04 August 2013

Over the past week I’ve visited four very different Christian gatherings. It’s been an experience that has left me humbled and hopeful.

Last Friday I was at Hillsong at the O2 arena in London, speaking to 8,000 people from a Pentecostal tradition. These people were full of love for Jesus Christ and commitment to service. The welcome was extraordinary; I had a great sense of being part of a family. The next day I was in Lincolnshire for HTB Focus. A very different style, and a powerful double commitment to evangelisation and social transformation, but again the core was love for Christ.

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June 2013

On World Refugee Day

Thursday 20 June 2013

On World Refugee Day we are urged to remember the millions of people who have been forced from their homes and homelands, out into a world that is unfamiliar, frightening and dangerous. This year we are especially asked to consider the impact on families who must care for each other despite having left behind every source of comfort and security. Under these desperate pressures families can find themselves pulled apart, creating deep suffering that doesn’t just hurt now, but wounds generations to come.

Providing sanctuary to the stranger has always been a core Christian value. Every day churches around the world care for people who have been forced into becoming ‘strangers’. They offer a welcome to people who have been robbed of their homes, their societies and their cultures.

Local faith communities are often the first to respond in humanitarian crises. They bring blankets, food and offers of shelter – and they remain after international agencies have left. Amid disorientating chaos, churches and mosques become coordination points, places that people trust. We see this in Syria, where churches on the ground are helping with efforts to relieve the profound suffering there.

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April 2013

When Aid Works and Why

Friday 12 April 2013

Sudanese girlsLast weekend a group of religious leaders, including the Archbishop of Westminster and me, wrote a letter urging G8 nations to stick to their targets on foreign aid. Some have opposed this call by suggesting that most aid money gets wasted or sucked up by corruption, and that developing countries are much better helped by growing trade.

These criticisms are important and at one level I don't dispute them. Economic growth is undeniably the key to removing nations from poverty. In fact I have been and continue to be involved in seeking to promote trade with Nigeria – especially from areas of deprivation in the UK – for this very reason. At the same time, no one can deny the existence of corruption and the fact that money has been wasted as a result. This is why, in our letter, we backed Britain’s call for national governments to be more transparent.

But so often the critics ignore the many instances where aid truly works – especially in vulnerable conflict and post-conflict situations. Certainly that was what I saw during more than a decade of working in Africa.

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