Archbishop praises 'sacrificial' efforts of those who help build communities
The spirit of the Olympics has inspired
the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to praise "unsung
efforts" in his final New Year's message.
Dr Williams today pays tribute to those whose "sacrificial
generosity" helps to transform lives and build communities.
In the January 1 message, the eleventh he has done since
taking office in 2002, he draws on the experience of the London
Olympics to illustrate what it took to make the games so
He says: "Everyone who visited the Olympic site or watched the
broadcasts will have been made aware of the army of volunteers who
cheerfully gave up their free time and worked away, without
complaint, all hours of the day and night to make these great
"They were the key people who translated the Olympic vision into
reality for the rest of us.”
Similar things are happening in many communities, he says, and
points to the work of London churches in caring for the
disadvantaged: “Over twenty local churches are combining to offer
food and shelter to homeless people in London.
"Let’s recognise this steady current of generosity that underlies so much of our life together in this country" – Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams
"Religion here isn’t
a social problem or an old-fashioned embarrassment, it’s a
wellspring of energy and a source of life-giving vision for how
people should be regarded and treated.”
This kind of contribution, he says, explains why so many of the
things which work well in communities come from the hard work and
selfless generosity of ordinary people who want to make things
He says those fortunate enough to live in a community where
things work well "if you slip backstage you’ll find an army of
cheerful people making the wheels go round."
He added: “So let’s recognise this steady current of generosity
that underlies so much of our life together in this country and
"It's all based on one vision - to make our society, our whole
world, work for everyone, not just the comfortable and well
He urged people to ask what they could do to join "this silent
conspiracy of generous dedication".
Dr Williams stood down from his post as Archbishop yesterday, to
be replaced by the Bishop of Durham Justin Welby.
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