CofE has change into "tribal and divided," says Archbishop of York

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(Photo: Unsplash / Yulia Chinato)

The new Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell spoke of his desire to unite the Church of England.

In his first public address after his confirmation as archbishop on Thursday, Cottrell said the church was "tribal and divided" and had to "learn to love one another, love the world and love God" again.

He spoke to the General Synod of the Church, which met online today, and said the Church must also "relearn" how to share the gospel with the world as it experiences "turbulent times" in the midst of the pandemic.

He continued today that he had "very much missed" the church buildings and was saddened that he could not properly say goodbye to the Chelmsford Diocese, where he was a bishop before becoming Archbishop of York.

"And I cry out for the pain of all these socially distant funerals, the thousands of people who died alone, the baptisms, weddings and ordinations that had to be postponed; the economic misery that is just around the corner and the devastating effects of this pandemic over the whole life of our world, "he continued.

"But I also cannot deny that it forced me to face things about myself that I was allowed to hide from the safety of the things I had to give up."

While the Church's vision remains "unchangeable," he said he was determined to "attract and listen" to the voices of younger Christians and "those whose voices are usually not so easy to hear in the Church."

He said he had already had "broader" discussions as part of a team that he leads that has the task of developing a vision and strategy for the Church of England for the next decade.

"So, dear General Synod, when we enter turbulent times and challenging decisions, we just have to learn again how to love one another, love the world and love God so that we can be both individually and collectively the place where God reveals will, "he said.

"We were not always very good at it. We allowed ourselves to be tribesmen and to be divided.

"We have allowed secondary things to obscure our belonging to one another. The Holy Spirit reveals Christ in us; and through us we can relearn how to share the gospel in the world."

His address can be heard in full below:

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