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  1. ITV Report

Archbishop of Canterbury says 2016 has left world with more fear and division

Justin Welby will say his experience of seeing those in hardship in 2016 had underlined, not undermined, his faith in God. Credit: PA

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said in his annual Christmas sermon that 2016 has left the world "less predictable and certain" and with more "fear and division".

The Most Rev Justin Welby spoke of the power of God against the "fear of terror" and the "economies of despair" during his address at the Eucharist service at Canterbury Cathedral on Christmas Day.

Rev Welby, who leads the Church of England and the global communion of 85 million Anglican Christians, also criticised society's shared economic values of progress for not delivering "economic justice".

The end of 2016 finds us all in a different kind of world, one less predictable and certain, which feels more awash with fear and division.

Uncertainty in the midst of much, but far from universal, prosperity is a sign of our trust being in the wrong things.

It tells us that our values are in the wrong place ... Economic progress, technological progress, communication progress hasn't resulted in economic justice. It hasn't delivered glory for us.

– Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop has spoken out on a number of issues during 2016, including the aftermath of various terror attacks, the US election and Britain's exit from the European Union.

  • He used his Easter message to focus on a spate of terror attacks, urging people not to be afraid.
Justin Welby told ITV News in October the 'unspeakable' bombardment of trapped civilians in Aleppo 'compared with some of the great atrocities of the last century'. Credit: ITV News
  • He urged people to "pray for France" in July after a priest was killed during a church siege in Normandy.
  • On a personal note, he said in April the discovery that Sir Winston Churchill's last private secretary was his biological father was a "complete surprise".
Justin Welby discovered his biological father was the late Sir Anthony Montague Browne rather than his father Gavin Welby. Credit: PA

In his Eucharist address Rev Welby said his experience of seeing those in hardship in 2016 had underlined, not undermined, his faith in God.

It is amongst those on the edge, those ignored, and amongst persecuted believers that I have most clearly seen the glory of God this year, a glory that chases away the fear of terror, the power of death, and the economies of despair.

Let me tell you about a bomb-injured woman in Pakistan, bereft of her youngest child in the blast, who said, 'One thing we know, Jesus really is the Good Shepherd.'

And a lonely elderly woman in London, and a trafficked teenager in Watford, both of whom spoke recently at a carol service - they have seen the glory of God in Jesus and he has brought transformation to their lives.

How then do we find glory? The only place and person who can bring glory to us is the child of Bethlehem who became the victim on the cross.

– Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury