Archbishop praises response to terrorism in New Year message

1 January 2018, 03:33

The Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the compassion shown by communities after last year's terrorism and tragedy.

In his New Year message, Justin Welby said the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester and the Grenfell Tower fire had been "terrible tragedies".

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

The Anglican leader used a Biblical passage from the Gospel of John, saying "the light shone in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it".

That light was seen in the "resilience" of London's Borough Market, as it recovered from a terrorist attack in June, he said.

Three men drove a van into pedestrians before attacking with hunting knives, killing eight people and injuring 48.

Mr Welby said the light was also "in the faces of the hundreds of volunteers" who helped in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire that same month.

Some 71 people died in the fire, which devastated the 24-storey building in London's north Kensington.

He also praised the heroism of the emergency workers.

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

He added that he remembered visiting those who had survived the fire and their "desperation and sorrow".

In the message, which was broadcast on the BBC, he said he also wanted to highlight the suffering of people "struggling to find work or relying on food banks" and "those who are bereaved or coping with poor mental health or physical illness".

He said their suffering "will never make the news".