13 Jan 2012

Last night in Westminster, the Archbishop of York delivered the keynote speech at this year's Edward Rudolf Lecture. The speech focused on children's well-being and on the importance of listening to children's voices, stable families and communities, and financial equality.

The Archbishop said: 'What primary school children and teenagers tell us about their lives is that what is most important to them are the relationships which surround and nurture them. What they tell us is that material prosperity is not the most important thing in their lives. It is love.'

The speech (full text, audio, responses) was related to The Children's Society's launch of the Good Childhood 2012 report.

The report (full text, summary) identified the keys to children's happiness and revealed that at any moment half a million children across the UK are unhappy with their lives. More than 30,000 children aged eight to 16 contributed to the report.

Family matters

The Archbishop said: 'Time and time again as I read this report I see the huge importance of the family as a place where relationships of love are nurtured and supported. Families in conflict, families that do not offer stability are places where relationships get strained and the nation’s children suffer the effects.'

The Archbishop made clear that he and the Church of England strongly support marriage. He also said: 'We must not pretend that the institution of marriage and the nuclear family provide an automatic ticket to the well-being of children.'

The Archbishop said: 'What really matters is the nature of the relationships that children experience. It is these relationships which ensure their well-being – or otherwise. People who are not married are just as capable of being loving and nurturing as anyone else.'

More than 350 people, including policy makers, academics, local authority officers and clergy attended the lecture at Church House in Westminster.

Listen to the Archbishop's speech

A full recording of the Archbishop's speech is available. Click 'Part 1' below to begin streaming the entire speech -- the second and third parts of the Archbishop's speech should follow the first.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

(Alternatively, each part of the Archbishop's speech may be downloaded. To do so, right-click on each link above, select 'Save link as. . .' then select a location on your computer to save each file. The files are in mp3 format.)

Responses to the Archbishop's speech

In the following video, several attendees at the Archbishop's speech shared their thoughts on the Archbishop's speech.

The attendees include Bishop Tim Stevens; Anita Tiessen, deputy executive director of UNICEF UK; Nick Spencer, research director at Theos; and Murray Wilkinson, children and young people ministry advisor for the Diocese of Canterbury.