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‘Collateral blessing’ desired

02 August 2013

NEW WINE

THE Church should be a "movement of prayer" which creates "collateral blessing", the Archbishop of Canterbury (above) said on Monday night. He was speaking at New Wine, a Charismatic Evangelical festival in Somerset, which he and his family attended for 12 years when he was a parish priest.

"The US Army gave us the expression 'collateral damage', which means killing people you did not mean to target," he said. "People seeking Christ create collateral blessing. That means changing the world for the better, in ways you could not have predicted."

Archbishop Welby continued: "There has never been a renewal of the Church in Western Europe without a renewal of prayer and the life of religious communities. Never. And if we want to see things changed, it starts with prayer."

He said that he had been kept awake at night by a poll published recently by YouGov, which suggested that more than half of people under the age of 25 saw the Church as "completely irrelevant" (News, 28 June). "Opposition is one thing; indifference is far more dangerous."

He received applause when he spoke of having voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill ( News, 7 June, 19 July). During debate on the Bill, he "heard the roar of revolution"; those who opposed it "were utterly crushed in the voting again and again and again".

The Archbishop continued: "Let me be clear: popular opinion is not a cause for changing obedience to God. But let me be equally clear: an overwhelming change that affects the opinions of the majority of people, and especially of younger people . . . is a revolution to which we must pay attention."

He went on to say that the Church should not "pretend that . . . our attitude to gay people has always been right. We have not loved them as Christ loves us, and that is the benchmark."

Archbishop Welby also said that he was worried by "the remorseless power of negative religion in this country. The more we harp on the negative and fail to show love for one another and Jesus Christ, to proclaim service to the poor . . . the more we give in to those who oppose the gospel. . .

"We must be the people who show hope in the face of death, steadfastness in suffering, because we overflow with the good news of Jesus to those around us."

Listen to the Archbishop's talk here.

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