The Most Rev Justin Welby used his sermon at the Christmas Day Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral to preach a message of support to volunteers helping refugees. And he praised rescuers – especially lifeboat crews – who save life at sea. He added: “It’s not politics, it’s simply humanity.” His words come as UK authorities brought in 67 people who were attempting to cross the English Channel on Christmas Day. Border Force agents took a group of people to Dover in the early hours of Saturday, after an incident involving two small boats.
French authorities also intercepted a boat yesterday.
And a further 150 were brought ashore after trying to cross the Channel on Christmas Eve. Among 35 rescued from a small dinghy by Border Force and brought to Dover were a baby and a young child.
The Archbishop said: “The Christmas story shows us how we must treat those who are unlike us, who have far less than us, who have lived with war and tragedy. Those who risk everything to arrive on the beaches, who suffer want and poor housing in our country. Our citizens – little food, endless worry, health injustice all over our country.”
This year more than 28,000 people have crossed the Channel.
In his sermon the Archbishop said this year we faced “unpredictability”.
But he said: “There is much we can do, and as wonderful communities have done – and we have had every cause to be proud of human achievement in science and medicine – the vaccines – in service and sacrifice – the NHS and the millions of key workers. There is no doubting our human capacity to solve problems and show great kindness.”
But he criticised the “consequences of selfishness and lack of love”, adding: “We live in societies biased towards power and exclusion.”