The Archbishop of Cantebury Justin Welby has released his Christmas Letter addressed to churches across the world. In it, he laments the Christian persecution and suffering seen in the last year, but also celebrates the unity of the Church and the call to live in hope as Christians serve the most needy.
He said of minority groups, Christian or otherwise, who have been targeted: “These are acts not only of terror but of genocide; criminal acts for which the international community must bring those guilty to account. Yet although so vulnerable and often forgotten and marginalised, our brothers and sisters are being courageous in the Lord. Indeed, ‘God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong’ (1 Corinthians 1.27).”
He recalled a trip to Pakistan in November, where he visited Christian communities who have suffered intense persecution in recent years.
“Such attacks are not only designed to inflict appalling suffering but also to sow fear in the heart of Christian, and other minority communities,” Welby said. “During the visit I spoke with some of the survivors of these attacks, and I was deeply moved and humbled by their extraordinary courage in continuing to be faithful witnesses of Jesus. They spoke of knowing now more than ever that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
“In many parts of our troubled, uncertain world, Christian minority communities along with other minorities are being similarly targeted. In some places, this is motivated by a desire to eradicate the indigenous Christian presence completely.”
He added that: “In other places conflict and corruption have become so normal that the world forgets the suffering of the poor.” He called the Church not to be “bystanders afar off” but to stand alongside those who suffer and work for change.
SOURCE: Joseph Hartropp