The Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York
"This is a time of huge challenge, uncertainty and fearfulness in our world. I am conscious that I’m standing in the shoes of some very great forebears, not least a man like William Temple who during the darkest hours of the Second World War with others dreamed of what the peace may look like and how literally devastated cities would be re-built, but also a moral vision for the rebuilding of a nation. He was one of the architects of that post-war consensus that gave birth to a welfare state and to that NHS that we stood out on the streets and clapped every Thursday Evening during the hardest days of lockdown.
"What were we clapping? Well, yes, all those who worked in our health service, but also all the others whose labour kept us going: those who stack supermarket shelves; volunteer in foodbanks; drive delivery vans, or collect prescriptions. But I also think we were clapping a set of ideas that are very dear to us: a belief about our common humanity which says that we belong to each other and have a responsibility to each other and that we are at our very best when we build communities of love which look out for and cherish each other, so that there is healthcare for everyone, not just for those who can pay.
It is easy to take these ideas for granted. But they have an origin. They don’t come from our observation of nature nor from the customs and cultures of most human communities. They flow directly from the revelation of God in Jesus Christ who by his sharing in our life and through his death and resurrection has formed us into a new humanity, and brought us into a community of giving and receiving love.
"Therefore, as a nation, and especially here in Yorkshire and across the north, we need to let this vision and these beautiful ideas, rekindle hope, build community, challenge the narrow and divisive versions of the world which only divide us from each other and, as we see to our terrible detriment, the planet itself. As a church we need to let this vision enable us to embrace difference, disagree well, and turn ourselves inside out in service, prophetic witness and joyful proclamation of the gospel to the world."
This is an extract from the Archbishop's sermon on his enthronement at York Minister (2020)
If you would like to find out more about the Christian faith: https://www.archbishopofyork.org/priorities/discipleship/exploring-faith