Archbishop of Canterbury to use first Christmas Day sermon to highlight ‘injustices’ facing Britain’s poor and victims of conflicts around the world
- Justin Welby will call on Christians to ‘challenge the causes of poverty’
- He will condemn treatment of Christian communities in the Middle East
The Most Rev Justin Welby will highlight the ‘injustices’ facing Britain’s poor and victims of conflicts around the world today in his first Christmas Day sermon as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Mr Welby will call on Christians to ‘challenge the causes of poverty’, despite signs of an economic recovery in the UK, when he addresses the congregation at Canterbury Cathedral today.
Mr Welby, who was enthroned as leader of the 77 million-strong Anglican community in March, will condemn the treatment of Christian communities in the Middle East who are being ‘attacked and massacred’ and the ongoing suffering in South Sudan.
‘We see injustice in the ever more seriously threatened Christian communities of the Middle East,’ he will say.
‘They are attacked and massacred, driven into exile from a region in which their presence has always been essential.
‘We see terrible news in South Sudan, where political ambitions have led towards ethnic conflict. On Saturday I was speaking to a bishop under siege, in a compound full of the dying.
‘We see injustices at home,’ he will add.
‘Even in a recovering economy, Christians, the servants of a vulnerable and poor saviour, need to act to serve and love the poor; they need also to challenge the causes of poverty.’
Mr Welby, who launched a crusade against payday lenders earlier this year, will cite a poll in Prospect magazine which suggested the church is more trusted on politics than religion, before adding: ‘The two cannot be separated’.
‘Christ’s birth is not politics, it is love expressed,’ he will say.
‘Our response is not political, but love delivered in hope. The action of the churches in the last five years is extraordinary, reaching out in ways not seen since 1945.
‘Yet no society can be content where misery and want exist, unless through our love collectively we also challenge the greed and selfishness behind it.’
The Archbishop, who has more than 48,000 followers on Twitter, had earlier posted a Christmas video message on the photo-sharing website Instagram.
In the message, he said: ‘Christmas means that, through Jesus, God shows unconditionally that he loves us. I pray that he gives you a very blessed Christmas.’