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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Christians Should Stand for Hope in Conflict

Tuesday 8th May 2007

Christian communities in the middle of conflict need to stand for hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation, the Archbishop of Canterbury said during a visit to Sri Lanka.

Dr Williams told a packed congregation in the cathedral church of Christ the King in Kurunegala that Christians have to feed those around them by bringing hope:

"When we find ourselves in the middle of conflict, of suffering, and even of despair, we as Christians have to say 'we have food to give'. And the food that we have to give is the promise that forgiveness is possible, that reconciliation is possible."

Trust has to be built through generosity and service, he said:

"Communities begin to change when people see one another as those who may give them hope, not those who make them afraid. Often individuals look at one another and say to one another 'you are going to take my life away', but a community that has heard the good news that God gives is a community where people look at one another and say 'you are going to help me live'.

"Real peace comes not only when people have stopped fighting, it comes when people have learnt to look each other with hope and expectation. It happens when I can turn to a person of another race, another faith, another party 'I need what you have to give, help me to live'."

This, he said, was the key to the promise given to Abraham:

"God says to Abraham 'because of you every community in the world will be blessed', may that be said of us. So let us allow ourselves to be fed by God day by day, may God give us the strength and the courage to feed one another, to build each other up in hope, and may God give us the strength to build up the whole of our society and community with the same hope, the same power of forgiveness."

The Archbishop of Canterbury's visit to Sri Lanka continues until Thursday.

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