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Justin Welby to be Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin WelbyAt a time when state and church are often involved in heated controversy about redefining words and concepts, England and its Church have redefined “news” and “announcement” by announcing the news that Justin Welby is to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury.*

I think my friend and colleague, Rev Dr Peter Carrell, may have been one of the first (in August) to anticipate this appointment. I was criticised, especially by people who didn’t read what I wrote (surprise!), for joining the anticipation.

Bishop Justin is understood as an “evangelical” (I often find those distinctions tiresome, but there’s a game played that the Archbishop of Canterbury alternate between “catholic” and “evangelical” – poor “charismatic” and “liberal” dimensions of the church…)

He is 56. He studied at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge. His career was in the oil industry. In 1987, he studied for ordination at Cranmer Hall and St John’s College Durham. He was ordained deacon 20 years ago, priest 19 years ago, and bishop last year.

Bishop Justin is in favour of women bishops. I could go on to list what he is for or against, etc., as lots of others have. But, a big BUT, don’t forget that what Rowan Williams was personally in favour of did not necessarily dominate as he served as Archbishop of Canterbury. Servant leadership is transforming. And there is a difficult, painful dance between unity and truth.

I follow Bishop Justin who is on twitter. He follows 42 (no, he does not follow me) and is followed by 4068. He does not tweet often. His first tweet in a week is:

Just heard of protest call to Lambeth at appointment of a woman as ABC. Am spelt Justin, not Justine. No agenda, just a matter of fact.

We pray…

*Just to also be clearer about the English redefinition of “to be”: What has actually happened so far is that the Queen has nominated Justin Welby for election by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury. Those who criticised my jumping the gun in making my announcement – take that!

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