Church has ‘great but often hidden strengths’ – next Archbishop of Canterbury
The next Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, whose nomination to the post was approved last week by the Queen – due to the established nature of the Church of England – described his appointment as “exciting because we are at one of those rare points where the tide of events is turning, and the Church nationally, including the Church of England, has great opportunities to match its very great but often hidden strengths”.
Bishop Welby, aged 56, has been Bishop of Durham since only last year, previously having been Dean of Liverpool. He will be enthroned as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral on 21st March next, succeeding Archbishop Rowan Williams who will stand down at the end of this year.
A NEW ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
The Rt Revd Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, will face a most challenging role as successor to Archbishop Rowan Williams in Canterbury, but will surely take over the position with the prayers and sincere good wishes of Anglicans – and many others – throughout the world.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s role as Anglican primus inter pares gives the Archbishop particular Communion-wide responsibilities. Bishop Welby’s experience as Archbishop Williams’ envoy to Africa, with a particular focus on helping build Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria, and his profile as an open evangelical, makes him a good choice to give leadership at this fractious time in Anglicanism. Then again, his experience in industry will not only be advantageous to the Church in terms of its critical financial state but also because business executives need to know both how to take decisions and how to make them – the processes involved in terms of research, consultation, negotiation and actually making up one’s mind.
The Church of England itself, of course, has its own heavy demands for an Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Williams has spelt that out recently, giving rise to speculation that a new Anglican global presidency, separate from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office, could be on the agenda. Departing from the traditional role of Canterbury in the Communion should only be contemplated with the greatest caution, however. There is a mood among many Anglicans today that they do not want a ‘global Church’ model and the development of a separate presidency could lead the Communion down a route that is in fact not in keeping with its essential character. Hence the need for much caution.
As far as the Church of England itself is concerned, it has a truly missionary role in its highly secularised context. It was remarkable, for example, how the speeches of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney after the results of last week’s US presidential election contained very free references to faith and God, such as would not be heard in modern Britain.
However, Justin Welby clearly is a man who will not only listen but will also be listened to. He is therefore well placed to help bring the language of faith back into the national vocabulary. That is important, because when people lose that language, when they stop knowing how to look beyond themselves to the eternal and heavenly realms, they are indeed at a very great spiritual loss.
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Letters to the Editor
All Saints’-tide and Hallowe’en
I was interested in Ron Eldon’s ‘Saints all’ article (Gazette, 2nd November).
Of course most people don’t have a clear idea about who is or is not a Saint (capital ‘S’) and are probably just as vague about when All Saints’ Day is, as we leave our Prayer Book behind.
It did get a mention in our church this week, pointing out the actual day.
As Hallowe’en overshadows this time of the year in the worst commercial way, it’s well to be reminded that God has knitted the elect in one communion and fellowship and that we may come to these unspeakable joys through Jesus Christ our Lord (part of the Collect of All Saints’ Day).
It is also wonderful to recall that on the day of ‘scary spirits’ and ‘ghoulish games’, a German monk was bold enough to post the 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church door and open the doors to Reformation and freedom. Hallowe’en can’t compete with that. Let the Lord and Saints be praised!
Joan Hill (Mrs) Carrickfergus
Changing Attitude Ireland at Dublin and Glendalough Synods
I would like, through the forum of your letters page, to reply to Canon Ginnie Kennerly’s letter (26th October).
While I don’t wish to revisit the events that occurred at the recent Dublin and Glendalough Diocesan Synods with regard to the Changing Attitude Ireland stall, I do feel that, when the Archdeacon of Dublin apologised and admitted his mistake, the matter should have ended there.
I have known the Archdeacon since he came to the Christ Church group of parishes as vicar and I have never seen him act without sensitivity, in fact, quite the opposite. He is a person who sees all people as children of God and treats them accordingly, with compassion and deep respect.
I feel that Canon Kennerley was unfair towards the Archdeacon, his family and not least his parishioners in raising the subject of homophobia and ignorant attitudes in the past towards LGBT Church members in the same letter as her comments about the incident at the Synods.
Helen Gorman (Mrs) Dublin 7
Features and Columns
- Focus on Disability Awareness in the Church
- Insight –
- Parish Development – a new direction By the Revd Paul Hoey, Chair of the Parish Development Working Group
- Soap – Down at St. David’s
- Rethinking Church – Stephen Neil – ‘What it says on the tin’
- Life Lines – Ron Elsdon – Playing the fool
There are no strong people Author: Jeff Lucas Publisher: CWR
- Bishop McDowell encourages Enniskillen on 25th anniversary of 1987 bomb
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