UK archbishop urges compassion for migrants in Christmas sermon
The Church of England’s top bishop used his Christmas sermon to urge people to show compassion to those facing hardship, including migrants and refugees who undertake the perilous sea crossing to the UK.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the story of the nativity demonstrated the need to show compassion for those “who have far less than us, who have lived with the devastating limits of war and national tragedy – those who risk everything to arrive on the beaches”.
Rev Welby also used his Christmas Day Eucharist sermon to praise rescuers who have worked to bring migrants stranded at sea to safety.
“I saw them the other day, a couple of days back, just getting on with it – five times as many shouts, callouts, as they’ve ever had in the history of the Dover lifeboat, and they do one thing – save life at sea … It’s not politics, it’s simply humanity,” he said.
The archbishop’s Christmas comes just days after French authorities announced that all 27 migrants who drowned when their boat sank in the Channel in November while trying to reach Britain have now been identified.
The accident was the most deadly involving a migrant boat in the Channel and cast a spotlight on the increasing number of desperate people seeking to cross the narrow waterway between France and England.
The number of migrants crossing the English Channel in a small boats from France to Britain surpassed 25,000 in 2021.