Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Archbishop of Canterbury

Bishop Justin Welby Becomes Archbishop of Canterbury-elect

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On the official website:

A medieval ceremony has begun the process of the Rt Revd Justin Welby becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The College of Canons of Canterbury Cathedral has unanimously elected Bishop Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

The 35-strong College of Canons, made up of senior clergy and lay people from the Diocese of Canterbury, met at Canterbury Cathedral’s 14th-century Chapter House to take part in the formality, which dates back more than 1000 years.

The process of electing the next Archbishop of Canterbury by the cathedral community is enshrined within its constitution and can only take place once a Congé d’Élire and Letter Missive from the Crown has been received.

The ceremony was chaired by the Dean of Canterbury, Robert Willis. As is traditional, the candidate was not invited to attend the ceremony, and only one name featured on the ballot sheet for the College of Canons to select.

The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral Reverend Dr Robert Willis said: “The decision we made this morning is taken formally to London.

“In St Paul’s Cathedral on February 4, I shall present this to the Queen’s commission.

“They will say that is valid, legal and right and at that moment Justin Welby becomes in all powers the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

January 11, 2013 at 18:54

Let’s Not Party Too Hard, Says New Archbishop of Canterbury

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In the Telegraph:

The Rt Rev Justin Welby said “the best parties” celebrate “something solid” rather than simply providing a way of escaping reality.

As well as being a time of celebration Christmas should be an opportunity help people in need, Bishop Welby said.

He specifically praised volunteers staffing food banks and urged people to offer time to neighbours and to help those who have “had a rough year”.

His plea was reinforced by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who used a separate message to encourage “love and care” over Christmas, particularly for “those whose needs are greater than our own.”

Meanwhile, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, warned on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day against the danger of being “complacent” about gun and knife crime in British cities.

Speaking in the wake of the massacre of 26 schoolchildren and teachers in the US earlier this month, Dr Williams said stricter controls over the sales of weapons would be only “a start”.

“But what will really make the difference is dealing with fear and the pressure to release our anxiety and tension at the expense of others,” he added.

In his final Christmas message as the Bishop of Durham, Bishop Welby, who will formally take over from Dr Williams in March, said next year would be a personally “momentous” period.

Addressing the challenges he faces as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury he said he “did not seek” his new role but pledged to do everything in his power to “make a difference” to the Church of England and the country at large.

“The Church gets lots of things wrong, it always has, always will, because it is full of human beings,” he said. “But at its heart is the good news that when Jesus came God came to be with us, offer us hope and joy and purpose and love beyond all we can measure. That keeps me going.”

Emphasising the importance of combining festivities with a sense of “responsibility” to others, the former oil executive said: “In tough times like these, it can sometimes be difficult to focus on the positive; talk of recession, news of redundancies and reports of worldwide conflict grinds us down. However, Christmas is a time for celebration, it always has been.

“The shepherds, poor as you could be even in those days, went to celebrate what had happened in a manger, where they found God Himself.

“Christmas also brings with it the risk of so clubbing ourselves round the head with spending and parties that we forget who we are and why we live.

“At the heart of the greatest story ever told, the Christian story, the story that has shaped our civilisation, is the theme of self-giving and responsibility.”

He added: “The best parties have something solid to celebrate, not just a desire to get out of one’s mind.

“The shepherds went to see Jesus and went away celebrating because God had come to be with them. They were optimistic. Hope lived. And hope and joy are better when shared, in fact sharing them makes them grow and gives them life.

“So, my own sense this Christmas is one of optimism. I see people staffing food banks, sharing good things, sacrificing to give.

“Perhaps just going to see a neighbour, hurrying a bit less when someone wants to chat, we can all do that. Perhaps we can give something to someone who has had a rough year, make space for them to have hope and joy.”

In a Christmas message to Sunday Telegraph readers Dr Sentamu said: “When so many are struggling in our society during this economic downturn, what we must ask is: do we want to live in a country where inequality and suffering is ingrained, or would we rather send out a message of the Christian virtue of hope – that everyone is valued and has an important part to play.

“This Christmas as we remember the great joy and hope brought by the birth of God’s son, Jesus Christ, let us remember our responsibility to love and care for our neighbour, especially those whose needs are greater than our own.”

Dr Sentamu’s message came after he issued a warning against the Government’s “severe” defence cuts, saying they needed to be carried out with “far, far greater sensitivity”.

Meanwhile Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said: “St Leo calls Christ’s birth ‘life’s birthday’ because if God is with us, then in a mysterious but real way, we are all brothers and sisters to God made man. It is in gazing on him that we see our own true worth.”

He added: “The light which came into the world at Bethlehem, the love which that tiny infant embodies is a light and a power for all of us to live by as we strive to create a better world, each in our own way.”

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

December 23, 2012 at 16:16

New Archbishop of Canterbury is ‘A Good Friend’ to Jews

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The JC.Com:

The Council of Christian and Jews has welcomed the new Archbishop of  Canterbury, Justin Welby, who will succeed Rowan Williams next year, as a “good friend”.

The Rt Rev Welby, Bishop of Durham and a former dean of Liverpool Cathedral, who will automatically become a joint president of the CCJ, has been involved in reconciliation work between Jews and Arabs.

Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, believed that Bishop Welby would have “a very balanced view” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said: “We both love the Jews and the Arabs. He really cares about them, totally. He is not the kind of person who will take just one side.

“It’s very rare. Everybody takes one position or the other. You either love Israel and hate the Palestinians; or you hate the Jews and you love the Palestinians. But he is on both peoples’ side.”

Canon White said that Bishop Welby had worked “in the thick of it” from Iraq to Nigeria. “He has been there in the midst of all of it. This isn’t interfaith relationships and reconciliation eating smoked salmon bagels in Golders Green and drinking cups of tea. This is really at the cutting edge.”

Liz Spencer, chairman of Merseyside CCJ, said that Bishop Welby had spoken to the group of his work with Jews, Christians and Muslims on an environmental project in the Holy Land.

Last year he helped CCJ mount a Holocaust Memorial Day exhibition in Liverpool Cathedral, she said. “He gave us space and facilitated it. He was very helpful and told his staff to help in any way they could.”

Bishop Welby abstained in this summer’s controversial vote at the Anglican Synod this summer, which endorsed the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine (EAPPI). The Board believes that EAPPI promotes a partisan view, which creates hostility towards Israel among Christians.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 16, 2012 at 16:08

Archbishop of Canterbury Once Told: ‘You Have No Future in the Church’

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Justin Welby was once rejected for ordination. Now, as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, all hopes are pinned on him to unite the divided Anglican community.

Read the whole report in The Telegraph here.

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 11, 2012 at 18:16

So What Happened to Archbishop John Sentamu?

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Could it have to do with the colour of his skin?

When I tweeted this morning a certain un-awed wonder at news reports that a middle-aged white dude, Durham bishop Justin Welby, has apparently been tapped as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, one of my Twitter followers snapped quickly back: “Almost all the candidates were middle-aged and white. Should they have gone with [anti-gay Archbishop John] Semantu just because he’s black?” So, too, a British Facebook friend complained about my “prejudice” toward the Church of England. “You wouldn’t have preferred [the bishop of] York, would you?”

Of course, that was not my thinking at all—Twitter’s mere 140 characters creates a certain barrier to nuance.

The “almost all the candidates were middle-aged and white” bit was more to the point, Bishop of York Dr. Semantu being the “only” non-white Church of England bishop who made up the “almost.” The tweeter doubled down on in a follow-up message: “but you’d have to have more non-white bishops in the Church of England to begin with.” Exactly. Or, you’d have to look outside the C of E for archepiscopal “Focus of Unity” of a worldwide communion that may well draw deeply on its colonial English roots, but that’s been coloring richly outside the lines of its WASP lineage for several centuries by now.

Dr. Semantu, well known for his own lack of nuance, promised to be a divisive choice in the global Anglican Communion—if not in the Church of England proper, where he is much admired by the Anglican laity despite, or perhaps because of, periodic fits of ideological and interpersonal pique. Given his much more conservative views on matters like the role of women and homosexuals in the church, an oft-noted “lack of diplomatic skill,” and the fact that at 62 he is older than out-going ABC Rowan Williams, Semantu was dropped from serious consideration early in the recommendation process.

All the enduring contenders, thus, were drawn from the soft, white center of the Church of England, allowing Welby, an affable former oil company executive with a familiar Eton-Cambridge pedigree, to move to the top of the list…

Read the rest of 80 Million Anglicans Can’t Be Wrong - Or Can They?

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 10, 2012 at 12:29

Africa Warms to New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

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Members of Africa’s largely conservative Anglican communion say Welby understands the challenges that the church faces on the continent and can stave off a schism

The Christian Monitor has the rest.

In South Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town says he is delighted at the appointment.

… “It is clear that he will bring great gifts to his new role,” says Archbishop Makgoba, adding that Welby’s experience in the secular world of business and finance will help with the church’s primary concerns of overcoming poverty and promoting comprehensive justice and peace.

“He has faced the tough realities with which so many live, and even looked the possibility of violent death in the face. He knows the harsh daily experience of so many here and around the world.”

 

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 10, 2012 at 12:05

Archbishop of Canterbury: First Address by Justin Welby

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Let’s be quiet for a moment and then pray.

Come Holy Spirit to the hearts of your people and kindle in them the fire of your love.

To be nominated to this post is both astonishing and exciting. It is something I never expected, and the last few weeks have been a very strange experience. It is 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. I feel a massive sense of privilege at being one of those responsible for the leadership of the church in a time of spiritual hunger, when our network of parishes and churches and schools and above all people means that we are facing the toughest issues in the toughest place.

I want to say at once that one of the biggest challenges is to follow a man who I believe will be recognised as one of the greatest Archbishops of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. He is some one with a deep love for Jesus Christ, an infectious spirituality, extraordinary integrity and holiness, immense personal moral and physical courage, and of course one of the world’s principal theologians and philosophers. On the basis that you should only follow failures, this is a great mistake. To be fully serious, the church world wide owes him a great debt, more than it knows, and I shall be continuing to seek his advice and wisdom. I can only wish him, Jane and the family a wonderful end to his time at Canterburyand joy in their new roles.

As I look back I am touched by the way in which so many people have contributed to who both Caroline and I have become. I learned a great deal from the companies in which I worked, above all from my bosses and my colleagues. We were nurtured and shaped as Christians in the churches in Paris and London. I had the privilege of serving as a curate amongst wonderful people in Nuneaton and making many mistakes as a rector in Southam. Coventry Cathedral opened my eyes to the church overseas and gave me a passion for reconciliation, andLiverpoolhumoured me, teased me and quietly taught me. Above all the providence of God has surrounded us in so many ways through tragedy and joy. Learning from other traditions than the one into which I came as a Christian has led me into the riches of Benedictine and Ignatian spirituality, the treasures of contemplative prayer and adoration, and confronted me with the rich and challenging social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

Looking forward, I am very conscious of my own weakness and the great need I will have for advice and wisdom, especially from those who are senior amongst the bishops who see deeply into the issues that are faced by the Church of England, and amongst the Primates who guide the Anglican Communion in its present struggles. There are some things of which I am deeply confident. Our task as part of God’s church is to worship Him in Christ and to overflow with the good news of His love for us, of the transformation that He alone can bring which enables human flourishing and joy. The tasks before us are worship and generous sharing of the good news of Christ in word and deed.

How we do those things is, of course much more complicated. The work of the Church of England is not done primarily on television or at Lambeth, but in over 16,000 churches, where hundreds of thousands of people get on with the job they have always done of loving neighbour, loving each other and giving more than 22 million hours of voluntary service outside the church a month. They are the front line, and those who worship in them, lead them, minster in them are the unknown heroes of the church. I have never had demands on me as acute as when I was a parish priest. One of the greatest privileges of this role will the inspiration of so many grass roots projects that I will see around the country. We have seen the wonderful hospitality and genius of the people in this country inside and outside the church during this marvellous year of Jubilee and Olympics.

Because of that vast company of serving Anglicans, together those in other churches, I am utterly optimistic about the future of the church. We will certainly get things wrong, but the grace of God is far greater than our biggest failures. We will also certainly get much right and do so already. Taking the right role in supporting the church as it goes on changing and adapting is the task where the collective wisdom of the bishops will be so important. The House of Bishops is very wise. I have had the great privilege of serving great bishops, Colin Bennetts in Coventry, James Jones in Liverpool and Archbishop Sentamu in York. The Archbishop has great communication gifts, wisdom and deep understanding of the global church, and I am greatly looking forward to continuing to learn from him.

The Anglican communion, for all its difficulties, is also a source of remarkable blessing to the world. In so many countries it is one of the main sharers of reconciliation and hope in Jesus Christ. Anglicans today stand firm in faith alongside other Christians under pressure in many places, especially in northern Nigeria, a country close to my heart. I am very much looking forward to meeting the Primates of the Anglican Communion, and have sent them a message today. Many of them I know already, and again have learned from them and will learn more.

Until early in the New Year I continue in Durham, and we have an Archbishop, so apart from the initial flurry I will just be doing what is in the diary already.

One of the hardest things will be to leave Durham. I work with a group of wonderful senior colleagues and remarkable clergy and lay people. It is an astonishing part of the country, one which as a family we were greatly looking forward to living in for many years. The people are direct, inspiring and wonderfully friendly. In many ways it has been the ancient cradle of British Christianity. It is a place of opportunity and an even greater future than its past. I will continue to do all I can to support the area.

This is a time for optimism and faith in the church. I know we are facing very hard issues. In 10 days or so the General Synod will vote on the ordination of women as Bishops. I will be voting in favour, and join my voice to many others in urging the Synod to go forward with this change. In my own Diocese, and before I was a Bishop, I have always recognised and celebrated the remarkable signs of God’s grace and action in the ministries of many people who cannot in conscience agree with this change. Personally I value and learn from them, and want the church to be a place where we can disagree in love, respecting each other deeply as those who belong to Christ.

We also face deep differences over the issue of sexuality. It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people co-habiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships. We must have no truck with any form of homophobia, in any part of the church. The Church of England is part of the worldwide church, with all the responsibilities that come from those links. What the church does here deeply affects the already greatly suffering churches in places like northernNigeria, which I know well. I support the House of Bishop’s statement in the summer in answer to the government’s consultation on same sex marriage. I know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT communities, and examine my own thinking prayerfully and carefully. I am always averse to the language of exclusion, when what we are called to is to love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us. Above all in the church we need to create safe spaces for these issues to be discussed honestly and in love.

I know these are major issues and will come back to them in due course, but I will not be saying any more about that today. I will stop there before this becomes a sermon, and am happy to answer some questions.”

Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

November 9, 2012 at 16:25

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