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Archbishop Justin Welby urges Commonwealth leaders to have “the courage to dream big”

Posted on: March 19, 2018 4:01 PM
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivers a video message ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London and Windsor Castle.
Photo Credit: The Commonwealth Secretariat

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has spoken of his hopes that the Commonwealth heads of government will have “the courage to dream big” when they gather in London next month for their biennial meeting. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in London and Windsor Castle from 19 – 20 April. In the three days ahead of the meeting, a number of forums will take place at which a number of civil society organisations – including provinces of the Anglican Communion – will take part.

“The great majority of members of the Anglican Communion are also members of the Commonwealth,” Archbishop Justin said in a video published by the Commonwealth secretariat. “The Commonwealth is one of those rare international bodies that is both useful and crosses all kinds of cultural and linguistic and historic boundaries.

“It is a means by which reconciliation is progressively achieved after often very complicated histories involving colonialism and imperialism. It is a triumph of the world adapting to different situations, to proper respect for each other, to care for one another and for human dignity. It is a gift to the world that should be treasured.

“For all these reasons, I really value the Commonwealth’s position and its potential.”

In the video, Archbishop Justin asks what the Commonwealth can achieve and what it should be dreaming of. Answering the questions, he says: “I hope that at this heads of government meeting, there is the courage to dream big – to look at what the Commonwealth could be in a world that is increasingly polarised, where the idea of diversity has become a criticism rather than something of which we can boast.

“Can the Commonwealth break down barriers of trade? Yes, but also of cultural difference and through its diversity enrich the lives of its members. Can it speak for marginalised countries? Smaller countries? Can it draw the world’s attention to them? Can it by its united voice be a servant of the common good and of the flourishing of human beings around the world?

“I pray and hope it can and pray for those coming for their dreams to grow and their successes to be achieved.”

The Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia, Moon Hing; the Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, Paul Sarker; the Bishop of Swaziland, Ellinah Wamukoya; and the Director for Women in Church and Society at the Anglican Communion Office, Terrie Robinson, are expected to take part in events linked to the CHOGM meeting.