Archbishop Welby says 'emulate Mandela' in 2014 message

Justin Welby
Image caption The Most Reverend Justin Welby also recalled his first year in office

People should pledge this new year to try to emulate Nelson Mandela and change the world around them, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said he never usually made resolutions because he was "hopeless" at keeping them.

But he urged people to "change the world a bit where we are", in his first new year message as archbishop.

And he quoted Mr Mandela's remark that dealing with poverty was a matter of justice rather than charity.

The archbishop said the Church would continue to talk about poverty and other social issues, because they were part of its duty to promote Christian values.

He was speaking as he visited a centre supported by the Church Urban Fund, a charity run by the Church for people suffering hardship.

'Great generation'

"I want to suggest this year that each of us makes a resolution to try and change the world a bit where we are," Archbishop Welby said in his message, to be broadcast on BBC One and BBC Two.

"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."

He recalled a first year in office marked by the rapid succession of contrasting events.

Image caption The archbishop said he had to "pinch himself" to think he was present at the christening of Prince George

He said he had experienced some "incredible high points", including his own installation in a spectacular service at Canterbury Cathedral, and the christening of Prince George in October.

He said one of the "greatest excitements" of his job was being part of an organisation that is the "glue that's holding the whole of society together" in many places.

The archbishop said people accused the Church of being political when it spoke about heating bills or insecurity in families, but he insisted that such issues were not so much a matter of politics as fulfilling the commandment to love your neighbour.

His message comes after he described Pope Francis as his person of the year.

"He has changed the sense of direction and purpose of the Catholic Church with his personal example," he told the BBC on Tuesday.

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