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Archbishop calls for Church to lead Ebola response

In a video recorded for a World Council of Churches (WCC) consultation on the Ebola response, Most Revd Justin Welby stressed the "absolutely crucial" contribution of churches and other faith communities in responding to the crisis.

He also spoke about a visit to West Africa last month in which he met with the Chief of Staff of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in Accra, Ghana.

Speaking about the virus, he said: "You're infected by the people you love most, and grieve for most - they are most dangerous to you when they've died."

"This is a challenge to the very heart of what it is to be human."

Archbishop Justin is praising the work of churches on the ground helping people affected but raised concern over the pressure they're under: "They're dealing with a quantity of bereaved people, of orphans, of widows, of those really emotionally traumatized to an extraordinary extent, at a scale that they are not easily able to do. They're dealing with their own fears.

"And I think therefore that for the churches we come back, as we always do as Christians, to prayer. To the person of Jesus Christ, who goes into the worst of all possible places, in the worst of all possible conditions, and does so through our hands and feet and eyes and ears. But also does so by his Spirit."

"Prayer is something that is incomprehensible outside the church and essential within it. The church is called to be courageous but it will be courageous when it is prayerful."

The WCC is today holding its second consultation in 60 days on the Ebola crisis.

The meeting, held at the WCC's Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, brings together representatives of Christian health, development and aid organizations and UN agencies to learn from each other and seek ways of collaboration to escalate their efforts.

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