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Archbishop of Canterbury to remain in post until retirement age if 'healthy' and 'people are happy'

by Kelly Valencia

Most Rev, Justin Welby, has said he hopes to remain the Archbishop of Canterbury until he reaches retirement age in 2026, if he is in "good health" and "people are happy" with him in the post. 

If he does, he would become the longest-serving Archbishop of Canterbury in half a century. 

"It's not about me, it's what's best for the Church," Archbishop Justin told The Times. 

"I will certainly take advice and if my health is good and people are happy that I'm still there, then I'll still be there ... It's not about me and what pleases me. It's a decision that would be arrived at in prayer, thoughtful consultation with others, family, colleagues, friends."

The 66-year-old, who will complete a decade in the role next spring, said the job can be "gruelling" sometimes but he is still enjoying himself "enormously". 

"It's such a privilege to do this job. I never take it for granted," he continued. 

A job that will continue to proof challenging as the Lambeth Conference starts next week. 

As the spiritual figurehead of the Anglican Communion in the world, Archbishop Justin is expected to lead the more than 650 archbishops and bishops attending the conference in prayer and communion. 

But the strongly differing views on issues such as sexuality within the Communion have lead to the archbishops of Rwanda, Nigeria and Uganda boycotting the conference by rejecting the invitation to attend. 

They won't be present in the conference, in protest, at moves by Anglican churches in the world to conduct or bless same-sex unions.

The conference was initially scheduled for 2018, but differences over sexuality caused it to be delayed to 2020. However, it was then further delayed because of the pandemic.

The head of the Church of England told The Times: "We will miss them. We regret very much they won't be there."

According to the schedule, only three hours will be spent discussing sexuality in the week-long conference. 

Other topics such as the environment and Christian unity will also be explored. 

Archbishop Justin said he hoped the conference prompted church leaders to make strong pledges on the environment and commitments on helping those in war-torn areas. 

The Lambeth Conference starts on 26th July 2022.

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