Bishop Justin Welby Becomes Archbishop of Canterbury-elect

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.”

 

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

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.”

 

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

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.

 

Pope Welcomes New Archbishop of Canterbury

The pope has reaffirmed his desire for stronger ties between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in his first message to the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

The Telegraph reports:

In a message through Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Vatican’s ecumenical chief, he spoke of the long-standing aim of “fully restored ecclesial communion” between the two churches.

The letter promised prayers for the Bishop of Durham and his family and spoke of the “intense spiritual and human friendship” between previous Archbishops and Popes.

Ties between the church in England and the papacy were first severed under Henry VIII and permanently separated under Elizabeth I.

But current relations between the two churches are widely viewed as closer than at any point in the last 400 years.

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has a strong personal friendship with Pope Benedict, and shares a similar background as a theologian.

Dr Williams’ tenure included Benedict XVI’s historic visit to the UK and last month he was invited by the Pope to address leading Catholic clergy from around the world in Rome.

But Dr Williams recently acknowledged that the impending vote to ordain women as bishops effectively ruled out anything resembling a merger.

Writing on behalf of the Pope, the Cardinal said: “Relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion are a hugely important part of the ecumenical call for all Christians to seek greater fidelity to the Lord’s will, so clearly expressed in his prayer to the Father at the Last Supper ‘that all may be one’.

“For almost 50 years, as you are well aware, there has been a formal theological dialogue which continues to seek a deeper understanding of the great heritage shared by Anglicans and Catholics, as well as the points of divergence which still impede fully restored ecclesial communion.

“During that same time, relations between succeeding Popes and Archbishops of Canterbury have been marked by numerous meetings which have expressed intense spiritual and human friendship, and a shared concern for our gospel witness and service to the human family.

“I am certain that under your leadership those excellent relations will continue to bear fruit, and I look forward to meeting you personally, and to future opportunities to share our common commitment to the cause of Christian Unity, ‘so that the world may believe’.”

 

The Archbishop of Canterbury Faces a Daunting Task in this Godless Country

In the Catholic Herald:

Fraser Nelson’ article about the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt. Rev Justin Welby, in the Telegraph last Friday, noted two aspects of our country that still remain in my mind. Referring to Bishop Welby’s predecessor, Rowan Williams, Nelson wrote, “Dr Williams has had to keep the Church alive in one of the least religious countries on earth.” Further on he commented, “…being Christian in Britain now means being part of a minority, and that the Church’s mission is to explain the Word of God to people who have grown up having never heard it.”

I don’t know why the phrase “one of the least religious countries on earth” struck such a chill in my heart. Of course, I know it to be true; you only have to read about the Government’s latest pronouncements on moral matters, follow the statistics of ever-falling church-going numbers, or realise that almost all the people you might bump into in the course of the day “don’t do God” as Alastair Campbell put it so elegantly when he was Tony Blair’s Director of Communications and Strategy, to be aware of its obviousness.

The UK today is simply mission territory – just as much as Africa was in the 19th century, but with the added complication that we are a sophisticated, rich, multi-cultural, post-Christian territory rather than a poor, pagan and exploited one. If it is hard for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle, it is surely just as hard to try to evangelise him. In Ireland last week for my brother’s funeral, I was struck forcibly by the contrast with this country when it comes to rituals of mourning. Admittedly we were in a small town on the Cork estuary rather than in a big city, but I had a powerful sense of a community that still retained a religious outlook on life. During the Removal at the undertakers the evening before the following day’s Requiem and burial, the coffin was uncovered in the chapel of rest. The door to the street was also open so that anyone could call by to pay their respects to the dead man and to offer their condolences to the family.

This was not a noisy “wake”; it was both very prayerful and at the same time appropriately sociable. “I’m sorry for your troubles” people said as they came in and greeted the mourners. Over a hundred people visited the undertakers to make their farewells, to share their memories of my brother and to listen to the short prayers offered by a local priest.

Most of them then joined us to walk behind the hearse through the streets to the parish church, where the coffin was placed beside the altar overnight. Passersby stood in respectful silence as our procession moved on its way. The next day, after the Requiem Mass, it was the same. Those who attended it walked slowly behind the hearse through the town towards the cemetery. Again, the general public stopped its business to mark the solemnity of a local man’s journey to God; a Christian community acknowledging the death of one of its members.

It made me think that you can tell whether a society is religious or not by the way it marks death. Over here, “the least religious country on earth”, death is hidden, not open; a private, not a community event; an affront to the bustle and business of the living. In Ireland, still a country of deep religious sensibilities despite the weakened authority of the Church, death is integrated into life: the necessary gateway to the life of the world to come. An Englishman who contacted me after hearing of my brother’s death told me he wished people would live by Christian principles as it would make life kinder all round, but that he had “a problem believing in life after death”. In Ireland people are still open to the profound mysteries of faith; death is an event to be marked by reverence, not merely respect. Here, funerals are so often neo-pagan celebrations of life, characterised by beer bottles left at the graveside. The new Archbishop of Canterbury is facing a daunting task.

So What Happened to Archbishop John Sentamu?

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?