The Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year Message 2018


Read the transcript of Archbishop Justin Welby's New Year Message for 2018, which was broadcast on BBC One on New Year's Day.

The message, which was recorded during a visit to the London Ambulance Service and Borough Market, is available to view in the UK on BBC iPlayer


"This is the Specialist Operations Centre, part of the London Ambulance Service. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the amazing staff here. It’s used for training and becomes operational when there’s a major incident in London.

On the 3rd of June, as the terrifying events unfolded on London Bridge and in Borough Market, staff took over a hundred calls from those caught up in the atrocities.

It wasn’t just London and Manchester that suffered last year - all over the world we witnessed the horror and devastation caused by terrorism.

And there have been other terrible tragedies. I visited Grenfell Tower while it was still burning. I remember the desperation and sorrow.

Then there are those whose suffering will never make the news. People who are struggling to find work or relying on food banks. Those who are bereaved, or coping with poor mental health or physical illness.

When things feel unrelentingly difficult, there are often questions which hang in the air: Is there any light at all? Does anyone care?

Every Christmas, we hear from the Bible in the Gospel of John the extraordinary words, “The light shone in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

We see this light in the resilience of Borough Market. Today it is as crowded as ever and the people who work there are vibrant and welcoming.

We see it in the faces of the hundreds of volunteers who turned out after Grenfell, simply to help strangers in need.

We see it in the heroism of the ambulance crews, police, fire service and security forces. I will never forget the imag of a group of unarmed police officers sprinting flat out towards Borough Market, as so many were running in the opposite direction. 

So often in 2017, the depth of suffering was matched by a depth of compassion as communities came together.

Which stories will define us? The horror? Or the response? The darkness, or the light?

It is a choice. But not one we have to make alone. Jesus Christ the light of the world weeps for our struggles, works for our healing, and invites us to walk in his light.  He is right there with us, in the midst of everything.

May I wish you all a very Happy New Year."

2 min read