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Archbishop hails volunteers in his final New Year message

By Helen Pidd, Guardian

Rowan Williams compared volunteers from the churches and other faith groups to the 'Games Makers' of the 2012 Olympics

The archbishop of Canterbury will on Tuesday insist that religion is not an "old-fashioned embarrassment" but instead a "wellspring of energy" as he pays tribute to the army of volunteers in the church.
 
In his final New Year message before he swaps Lambeth Palace for a Cambridge colleg, Rowan Williams compared volunteers from the churches and other faith groups who help those in need to the Games Makers who contributed to the success of the London Olympics and Paralympics.
 
"If you have the good fortune to live in a community where things seem to be working well, the chances are that if you slip backstage you'll find an army of cheerful people making the wheels go round – and don't forget just what a huge percentage of them come from the churches and other faith groups," said Williams, who stood down on Sunday after a decade in office.
The Olympic Games Makers should be a reminder, said Williams, of "all the other folk who quietly, often invisibly, turn vision into reality and just make things happen – especially volunteers".
 
He pointed to the "Robes" project, in which more than 20 churches have joined forces to offer food and shelter to homeless people in London. He said: "Religion here isn't a social problem or an old-fashioned embarrassment, it's a wellspring of energy and a source of life-giving vision for how people should be regarded and treated. So let's recognise this steady current of generosity that underlies so much of our life together in this country and indeed worldwide.
 
Read here
 
Watch Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year's message video, Telegraph 
 

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