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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 April, 2004, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Archbishop calls for 'church for all'
Dr Barry Morgan
The Archbishop warned against elitism in the church
The Archbishop of Wales called for a church which welcomes people from all backgrounds as he delivered his Easter sermon.

In his first Easter address since taking over from Dr Rowan Williams, the Most Reverend Dr Barry Morgan addressed a packed congregation at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff on Sunday.

He said the priority of the church was not "the saving of a few select souls".

"There is a danger of the Christian Church becoming a kind of Holy huddle, an in-group speaking its own language, doing its own thing, in its own way - almost a kind of elitist religious club," he said.

"The message of the gospel is for all people and when the spirit is given, it is in such a way that communication is possible between nations and cultures in a way that hasn't been possible before - in other words, the Christian Gospel is meant to break down barriers, not raise them up."

Dr Morgan shared his memories of one Easter he spent in Majorca, when he attended a Roman Catholic Mass in an hotel.

He said the service was "galloped through" and took just 20 minutes.

The service was so far removed from his usual experience that it made him think again about the significance of the Resurrection, he said.

"In that hotel, there were people from literally every nation and race and country under the sun, who had come together at the feast of the Resurrection to worship the God who raised Jesus from the dead," he explained.

"It made me realise, with a greater force than before, that the God we believe in is not American or English or even British or Welsh, but the God of the whole universe.

"It is easy for us as an island nation, and particularly in light of our imperial past, to appropriate God as if he were our tribal God, justifying everything we do as His will.

"We have seen this during the war in Iraq, when statements by our own and the American Government seemed to imply God was on our side.

"While our leaders don't put it as crudely as that, a hint of it comes to the fore now and again. In case we think this is merely the fault of politicians, we must also recognise the tendency of religious people to make God in their own image."

This Easter will has been a special one for the parishioners of Llandyfodwg, near Bridgend, south Wales.

Last year, the church was under threat of closure, and it looked likely that there would never be an Easter service there again.

Fortunately, it was granted a reprieve, and it has now launched an appeal for money to restore the building.

The Easter congregation was addressed by Reverend Dr John Gillibrand, a lecturer and writer from Bridgend, who has agreed to provide temporary cover.

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