Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content

Never Give Up Hope

The Archbishop of York Lights A Candle to Remember Madeleine McCann

Sunday 6th May 2012

The Archbishop's column in The Sun today talks about the search for Madeleine McCann, the importance of affordable, healthy food for all children and being good news wherever you go. Full text of his column follows...

Never Give Up Hope

Have you seen the new images that have been created to show how Madeleine McCann might look today?

It is now over 5 years since Madeleine went missing. We should never give up hope that she will be found alive. I regularly pray for her and her parents and for all other missing children that they may be safe, free from fear and anxiety.

 There seem to be some new leads which is heartening news.

I spoke to her mother, Kate,  at a vigil in York Minster for another ‘disappeared’ daughter, Claudia Lawrence. She told me that it was only after Madeleine was taken from them that she and her husband Gerry learned how many children go missing each year from all around the world. The scale of the problem is so huge, it’s surprising we don’t hear more about it.

Can you imagine the pain of parents when their son or daughter is abducted or disappears. Thinking every day of the fear, confusion and insecurity their child is suffering. All over the world, there are parents who are living with this sadness.
I have put up the new image on the wall in my Chapel next to the photo of how she looked when she was abducted. Please join me in praying for her safe return. Each child is special, so very special.

Will you please join me in asking that their guardian angels will protect them and that they are reunited with their loved ones.

Lord Jesus, loving shepherd, hear our prayer for Madeleine and all missing children. Amen.


Food Glorious Food

Jamie Oliver is absolutely right. Good food matters. I love it!


As a follower of Jesus Christ I believe in prayer and parties – and parties mean good food. Have you ever spotted how much the gospels say about Jesus sitting down to a meal with people?


Jamie’s plea, this week in The Sun, to put good food back on the table is so important – especially for our nation’s children.


We want our children to live longer, healthier and happier lives.


Healthy meals are an important part of decent education.

What we generously offer to our young people has a lot to what we get out of them. If we want productive, enthusiastic and engaged young people we need to nurture their hearts, minds, bodies and souls.


A healthy meal at lunchtime improves children’s concentration and can have a positive impact on classroom behaviour.  Nutritious school meals for disadvantaged children can also help develop healthy eating habits and will eventually decrease health inequalities.


More than half of all school children living in poverty - 1.2 million - are missing out on free school meals – and a further 700,000 of children living in poverty are not entitled to free school meals at all, according to The Children’s Society’s latest report.


The Psalm sung in Church today says: “The poor will eat and be satisfied – those who seek the Lord will praise him – may your hearts live forever.” Let us seek justice and fairness for those facing tough times – a healthy meal should be something everyone has access to in this day and age.


We need a Food Revolution - 91% of UK adults believe that all children living in poverty should receive free school meals. Well done to Jamie and The Sun for speaking up for decent nutritional school meals for all.


And you know, I believe in saying ‘Grace’ before meals. A thankful heart savours what is offered.



Being Good News Wherever You Go


I was reading the story this week in the Bible of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch – a Chancellor of the Exchequer. I’m glad that treasury ministers don’t have to be eunuchs these days, but we won’t go there.


The Ethiopian is travelling on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza.  Philip is told by an angel to get in the man’s chariot and explain to him that what he is reading and not getting is about a man called Jesus who was crucified and rose again. And he wants the eunuch to know that his past sins can be forgiven, offered new life and hope for the future.


All of us can BE the good news through our actions not just through our words.

By the time you read this, I’ll be on a 7 hour plane flight. I wonder who will be travelling with me, and what conversations I shall get into this next week.


Journeys are great times to think about things, and ask the question – ‘where have I come from?’ And ‘where is life going?’


Perhaps like that Ethiopian, you will soon make the amazing discovery of God’s love in Jesus Christ? If so, do what he did, make a new beginning, and be filled with the Spirit of God! Read all about it in Acts 8 verses 25 to 40.

Back · Back to top