Drawing on his time as a hospital chaplain during the pandemic, the Archbishop of Canterbury found “reasons to hope” for 2021 in his New Years message
- Justin Welby used his experience as a chaplain at St. Thomas' Hospital
- The Archbishop said the crisis shows how fragile we are, but also how we should respond
- He also understands the grief of people who may have lost loved ones this year
The Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday (Thursday) that he had drawn hope for the new year from his experience as a junior hospital chaplain during the pandemic.
Most venerable Justin Welby has volunteered as a chaplain assistant at St. Thomas Hospital since the first wave of the virus last spring.
In a New Year's message, he said, “This year there has been tremendous pain and grief. Many of us have lost family members or friends, often without being able to say goodbye.
"It is in St. Thomas" that in addition to recognizing this darkness, I find reasons to hope for the coming year. Because what I see here teaches me something about people – and about God. & # 39;
The archbishop, who is due to deliver his message on a BBC One broadcast today (Fri), has spent time with patients, relatives and staff, visiting the Covid wards at the hospital adjacent to Lambeth Palace.
St. Thomas, also a few hundred meters from the Palace of Westminster, was the hospital that Boris Johnson treated in his intensive care unit after the Prime Minister fell ill with the virus in April.
Archbishop Welby, who worked for the senior hospital chaplain, Reverend Mia Hilborn, said: “One evening I could be with a young child and pray with him and his mother. Second, I could share a joke with someone – find a moment of warmth and connection in a scary time.
"Sometimes the most important thing is to just sit with people and let them know that they are not alone."
Archbishop Welby said of the hospital chapel: "This chapel is in the heart of Guys and St. Thomas" in central London – one of the largest and busiest hospitals in Great Britain.
"Like health workers across the country, the staff here have been at the forefront of the coronavirus crisis and responded with incredible courage, skill and care."
He added: “This crisis has shown us how fragile we are. It also showed us how to address this fragility.
“Here in the hospital, there is hope in every hand that is held and in every reassuring word that is spoken. It's with every call across the country. Any grocery package or thoughtful card. Every time we wear our masks.
"For everyone who is on the dark and difficult journey of grief – a path I know myself – I want to assure you that I am praying for you."
The Archbishop suffered the death of his seven-month-old daughter Johanna in a car accident in France in 1983.
He continued: “The Bible tells us that God takes pleasure in these little acts of love – because they reveal who we really are: people who were created in God's image and are deeply connected to one another.
Such gestures speak to me of Jesus – the one who shows us what God's love looks like.
“And because of this, we can have hope for every month to come. May God bless you and everyone you love this year to come. & # 39;
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