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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 1 January, 2003, 12:15 GMT
Archbishop attacks image obsession
Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury
Makeovers and rebranding create "anxiety"
The commercial world's preoccupation with makeovers and rebranding has been criticised by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In his first New Year message, Dr Rowan Williams said the obsession both reflected and created "anxiety" and "permanent, restless concern" about external appearances.

The new head of the Anglican Church said God, on the other hand, was permanent and consistent.

In the message, Dr Williams said: "We are in the world not of make-believe but of makeovers.

There is something beyond anxiety and fear - God is to be trusted

Dr Rowan Williams
"Walk down almost any street in town, and you'll see banks, businesses, cafes and bars busy reinventing themselves.

"Time for a change to the decor and the name. Businesses, charities, seem obsessed with rebranding themselves.

"You do wonder a bit how much difference it really makes. So what's going on? I suppose that behind all this is an anxiety. What do people really think of us, of me?"

'Uncomfortable truths'

He said: "Perhaps people trust us even less when we change the brand name? It can be an infallible recipe for anxiety, permanent, restless concern about how we look.

"We're bound to think, as the year changes, about change in general - and this is just one kind of change. But it's one that tells us some uncomfortable truths about ourselves, about the way we live now."

Of the Christian faith, he said: "We believe that God isn't constantly anxious about what we think of him, constantly reinventing himself."

In the message, broadcast on BBC2 on New Year's Eve, he wished viewers a "very happy New Year", adding: "There is something beyond anxiety and fear. God is to be trusted."

Several days previously, Dr Williams used his first Christmas message to urge the government to pull back from the brink of war.

The former Archbishop of Wales, who officially became head of the Anglican Church in December, warned world leaders that even "wise men" could "wreak havoc and suffering".

Commentators were mixed on his views, but welcomed his willingness to take on controversial subjects.


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02 Dec 02 | Wales
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