UK

Archbishop Justin Welby calls for 'spirit of openness' in 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby Image copyright PA
Image caption The Most Rev Justin Welby's sermon will be shown on BBC One

The Archbishop of Canterbury has used his New Year's sermon to encourage the public to go into 2019 "in a spirit of openness towards each other" after the "struggles and divisions of recent years".

The Most Rev Justin Welby said the UK is now "wonderfully" more diverse.

But he added that people "disagree on many things, and we are struggling with how to disagree well".

The sermon was shown on BBC One on New Year's Day at 12:55 GMT.

Delivering his message from Lambeth Palace in London, the archbishop said: "Turn on the television, read the news, and you see a lot that could tempt you to despair.

But the leading figure in the Church of England added: "Hope lies in our capacity to approach this new year in a spirit of openness towards each other - committed to discovering more of what it means to be citizens together, even amid great challenges and changes.

"That will involve choosing to see ourselves as neighbours, as fellow citizens, as communities each with something to contribute.

"It will mean gathering around our common values, a common vision, and a commitment to one another.

"With the struggles and divisions of recent years, that will not be easy. But that difficult work is part of the joy and blessing of being a community."

'Peace and unity'

In his Christmas service at Canterbury Cathedral, the archbishop urged people to forget the "languages of hatred, tribalism [and] rivalry".

Instead, he told his congregation to aim for peace and unity at a time of challenge and discord.

He stressed the importance of the language of love replacing the language of conflict.

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