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Weddings, Work and Wembley

Archbishop at Bootham Crescent

Sunday 29th April 2012

Writing in the Sun, the Archbishop reflects on the Royal Wedding Anniversary, the meaning of Vocation and the end of the football season. His column in full follows...

Royal Wedding Anniversary

Can it really be a year since Prince William married Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge?  Yes, it’s true.

Congratulations, love and prayers for their 1st Wedding anniversary today.  It’s been great to see the pair carrying out their duties enthusiastically and looking at each other with eyes full of confidence and love, just as on their wedding day.  And when they’re not on duty, we’re told they share the household chores like any other modern couple.

May they go from strength to strength in the love of God.

While we are at it, let’s remember everyone who has a wedding anniversary this week.  The number of people getting married is on the up.  The latest figures show an increase of 3.7%.  And recent government statistics measuring wellbeing reveal that those who have tied the knot are happiest.  There’s something about making a lifetime commitment that leads to greater satisfaction than playing the market or keeping the exit door ajar.

If you know anyone who is thinking it over, show them the words which bride and groom say to each other at a church wedding and invite them to put their own names where I have left blanks:

I, ------ , take you, --------- to be my ------,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part;
according to God's holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow.

It’s solemn, it’s binding and it’s tremendous.  Read all about it on

Of course it’s not just getting married, but sticking at it that counts.  There’s a lot of wisdom in these words, which Sir Paul McCartney is said to have written when he was 16:

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

So, if like me, you’re in that category and married, how about saying the wedding promises over again to the one who has stuck by you through thick and thin over the years?

Vocations Sunday

Today in the Church we celebrate ‘Vocations Sunday’.

Did you know that more people volunteer their time to work for church organisations than any other organisation in the country?

A quarter of regular churchgoers are involved in voluntary community service outside the church. Churchgoers overall contribute 23.2 million hours voluntary service each month in their local communities! Amazing!

With God, we are all called to serve and play our part in making our communities generous, safer and flourishing.

True vocation is serving others and treating people as we would like to be treated ourselves.

If we all offered a small amount of time, talent and effort to improving life for those around us – just a little – together we could make a big impact on the difficulties we face as a nation.

Cynicism is the disease of our modern age and the Christian virtue of hope is the cure.

Football Crazy

I’m sure most of us are looking forward to the conclusion of the football season –whether you’re a big football fan, like me, or you simply can’t wait for it all to be over and off the TV!

Tomorrow is the big Manchester derby that could decide the Premier League title race. I hope to catch some of it!

I grew up in Uganda as a Manchester United fan. Now I know that won’t be popular with many readers who live outside Manchester – but back then, they were simply the best. Those were the days of Bobby Charlton and George Best. They also sent out some of their football kit to my school in Uganda for us to use – so they got me hooked!

Whilst I still follow United, and hope they win tomorrow, I also like to follow my local team. In fact, I’m Patron of York City FC, and I try to get to games when I can.

This season has been fantastic. We’re in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley in a couple of weeks and have already booked our place in the end of season play-offs. Getting back in the Football League would be a massive achievement and a wonderful boost for our great city of York.

When your local team wins, it gives the whole town a lift. People have smiles on their faces and everything feels good.

Just remember that when we all pull together in the same direction, anything is possible! Never forget the prayers we said earnestly for Fabrice Muamba.

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