St David’s Day address by the Archbishop of Wales

Wales is a country of migrants and should be proud of its record in welcoming refugees, the Archbishop says in a St David’s Day address.

Wales is a country of migrants and should be proud of its record in welcoming refugees, the Archbishop says in a St David’s Day address.

Dr Barry Morgan praises Welsh local authorities for housing refugees in the current crisis, despite facing budget cutbacks, and for recognising our common humanity.

The Archbishop is speaking at the Lord Mayor’s National Civic St David’s Day service at St John the Baptist Church, Cardiff city centre, attended by council leaders from across Wales. The service starts at 10.45am and will be led by the priest-in-charge, the Revd Canon Sarah Rowland Jones.

He says, “Local authorities in Wales and elsewhere are facing tremendous cutbacks but what you ought to be proud of is, that many of you have decided that in spite of all your problems you have set aside some housing for refugees and their children.  You have done so because you realise that we belong to one common humanity.  It would have been all too easy to say that you had so many problems of your own to deal with that you could not cope with any demands from the outside.

“By so doing, knowingly or not, you have recognised that  all of us are migrants of one kind or another – even we Celts the original inhabitants of this island came from Northern Europe.  Not one of us is ethnically monochrome.  We are all basically migrants and this Country has a proud record of absorbing people from every nation upon earth and offering help to those fleeing from persecution of any kind.  We are all beneficiaries of the generosity of others in this Country for many of our ancestors were in desperate need of shelter, safety or simply wanting a better life.  You have not forgotten that in offering hospitality and refuge to those fleeing persecution.  Wales on its own cannot solve the refugee crisis but you have tried to do something.”

Doing something to help, however small, was important, says the Archbishop, quoting St David, the patron saint of Wales, who said, “Do the little things you have heard from me and I have shown you.”

That appeal to do the “little things” applied to Welsh voters too, says the Archbishop and he urges everyone to cast their vote in the May elections for the National Assembly.

He says, “There will be many who won’t vote because they feel their one vote won’t make a difference. Yet the right of all of us to vote has been hard won and it enables us to have a say in how our society is organised. Each vote counts and we have a responsibility to each other to cast ours.”

Dr Morgan also acknowledges the desire of councillors to hold onto their Christian heritage, despite recent debates about saying prayers before council meetings.

He says, “You have come today to St John’s,  the chairs and mayors of practically every local authority in Wales, just as your predecessors came to offer worship to the God St David worshipped in the 6th Century.  Nor is this a mere one off attendance, because every mayor in Wales has a chaplain and every local authority holds at least one civic service in a church or chapel every year……  The fact that you have come this morning means that you are asking for God’s grace to enable you to fulfil the tasks ahead of you.  Christians believe that human beings cannot do things in their own strength.  We need  God’s help and grace to build a better society.”

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