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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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Archbishop on Pause for Thought with Terry Wogan, BBC Radio 2

Tuesday 8th December 2009

Dr Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, offers a Christmas message to listeners of 'Wake up to Wogan' on BBC Radio 2.

Read a  transcript below, or click download on the right to listen [2Mb]

I'll be off on my travels this weekend to the summit in Copenhagen, to talk about the Church's attitude to climate change and all those issues.  I know there are all sorts of technical arguments about the science of it all and people still disagree about aspects of it.  But a couple of weeks ago, I had a visitor from the Pacific, who told me about how his island and some of its neighbours were actually going to be uninhabitable in a few years time because of rising water levels – almost certainly connected with climate change.

That brings it home all right.  It's not quite good enough to say it's all too difficult – or that it's nothing to do with religion anyway.  We're getting ready for Christmas; and it's worth remembering that one of the things we celebrate at Christmas is God taking an interest in the real material stuff of this earth, the flesh and blood, and all the things that keep flesh and blood secure – food and shelter and so on.  It would be pretty peculiar if we took the world less seriously than God does. And I suppose that's why Christians and other religious people are so concerned about the Copenhagen agenda.

There are plenty of things we can do to scale down our extravagant use of energy and the amount of waste we produce (that's certainly a challenge at Christmas!).  But one thing I'll be saying this weekend is that these things will only happen if we learn to love the world we're in.  And Christmas is a good time for rediscovering that.  I hope everyone listening has a wonderful celebration – and a chance to rediscover something about love, for the world and for each other. 

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