Archbishop hails compassion of communities in wake of terrorism and Grenfell

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has used his new year message to praise the "depth of compassion" shown by communities responding to terrorism and tragedy.

The Anglican leader said the 2017 terrorist atrocities in London and Manchester and the Grenfell Tower disaster had been met with heroism from the emergency services.

But he also used his message to highlight the suffering of people "struggling to find work or relying on food banks" whose plight did not make national headlines.

The Archbishop used his message, being broadcast on the BBC, to say that as well as the attacks in London and Manchester, "all over the world we witnessed the horror and devastation caused by terrorism".

There had also been other "terrible tragedies", he said, adding that he visited Grenfell Tower when the west London block was still burning and "I remember the desperation and sorrow".

"Then there are those whose suffering will never make the news," he added.

"People who are struggling to find work or relying on food banks. Those who are bereaved, or coping with poor mental health or physical illness.

"When things feel unrelentingly difficult, there are often questions which hang in the air: Is there any light at all? Does anyone care?"

The Archbishop highlighted a Biblical passage from the Gospel of John - "the light shone in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it".

From left, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Chief Rabbi Ephriam Mirvis, Sheikh Ezzat Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammad al Hilli and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, take part in a vigil outside Westminster Abbey, London, for the victims of the Westminster terror attack (Victoria Jones/PA)
From left, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Sheikh Ezzat Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammad al Hilli and Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols take part in a vigil outside Westminster Abbey for the victims of the Westminster terror attack (Victoria Jones/PA)

That "light" was seen in the "resilience of Borough Market" which was now as vibrant and welcoming as before the June attack, it was "in the faces of the hundreds of volunteers" who helped in the aftermath of the Grenfell blaze, and in the heroism of the emergency workers who responded to the events.

"So often in 2017, the depth of suffering was matched by a depth of compassion as communities came together," he said.

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