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Archbishops devote week to poor

11 April 2014


THE Archbishop of Canterbury and the RC Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, made a joint visit to a north-London centre for asylum-seekers last Sunday, at the start of a joint week of prayer for the poor.

The two Archbishops have made a series of video reflections available on their websites featuring Anglican and Roman Catholic voices. There are prayers, too, as they seek to focus their Churches' attention on issues of poverty and "encourage people to pray for the work churches do to support people in need in their parishes and beyond".

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace said: "Their hope is that, by joining together in prayer, . . . they will foster the work of the Church in strengthening communities and helping those in need across the country."

In an interview for the Radio 4 Sunday programme, Archbishop Welby said that God was calling the C of E and RC Churches to tackle poverty together. "This isn't some sort of stunt. It's just an inevitable response to the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing us into co-operation. Christians across the country are working together regardless of Church, and so it seemed appropriate for us to go together."

Cardinal Nichols told the programme that it was a "disgrace" that people were living in destitution "in a country as rich as ours. . . Working with the Government, we have to find ways of making sure that the destitution of people today is not a reality. We can afford to support those who are destitute," he said.

Speaking at the refugee centre, Archbishop Welby said that his visit had reminded him "how much I need to listen more carefully and hear the voice of the poor. How easy it is to be caught up in church struggles and church bureaucracy and administration."

Paul Vallely

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