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Archbishop of York highlights Church influence in Christmas message

Archbishop of York Credit: PA

The Archbishop of York used his Christmas message to highlight the influence the Church still has, despite fears attendance and its standing in society is in decline.

Writing in The Sun, Dr John Sentamu said that an estimated 15 million people in England will go to church on Christmas Day.

He said: "Churchgoing is often associated with words like 'decline'. But it is still the biggest weekly gathering there is in our country, outstripping combined attendance at football matches every week - and we don't even get a supplement on Monday with all the best bits!"

The archbishop said the Church of England conducts 1,000 weddings, 2,000 christenings and 3,000 funerals every week, and one million children go to 5,000 CofE schools every day.

The church will support communities over the festive period with food banks, domestic refuges, hospital visits and homeless shelters, Dr Sentamu said.

Inviting people to church and wishing them a happy Christmas, he added: "Faith is woven so deeply into our society that those who seek to write it off are often confounded by the way in which the church is involved in all areas of life. The church is for life and it's also for Christmas."

Archbishop of York's prayer for Nelson Mandela

Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Gracious Father,You gave up your Son out of love for your world:

Look with mercy on Madiba Mandela;

And on all your children in South Africa.

As they reflect on Christ's Death and Resurrection, may they know eternal peace through the shedding of our Saviour's blood,

Jesus Christ our Lord.


Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York


Soldiers remember fallen comrades

The Archbishop of York has led a service of remembrance at the city's Minster for soldiers who've recently returned from Afghanistan. Hundreds of military personnel from the 4th Mechanized Brigade based at Catterick Garrison turned out for the service.

Doctor John Sentamu led prayers to the nine members of the unit who lost their lives during a recent deployment to Helmand. The Regiment's Brigadier Bob Bruce spoke about the service.

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