News by email Donate


Church News

Justin Welby to be enthroned as next Archbishop of Canterbury

Global religious leaders will join David Cameron and Prince Charles in Canterbury Cathedral this afternoon, to see Justin Welby enthroned as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. The former Bishop of Durham will be enthroned by a woman, the Venerable Sheila Watson, the Archdeacon of Canterbury will carry out the first part of the ceremony, making her the first female to do.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby will then complete his move to become earthly leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, officially becoming head of the world's 85 million Anglicans. Today's service is expected to be attended by about 2,000 guests, including political leaders, archbishops and bishops from around the world. The Most Rev Welby was named as Dr Rowan Williams' successor in November and will be enthroned as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. He will continue a line which has been unbroken since the Sixth Century after the arrival of a monk from Rome called Augustine.

The former oil financier has just completed a tour of the province of Canterbury, which covers much of southern England, the Channel Islands and parishes in other European nations. Justin Welby is married to Caroline and they have had six children. In 1983, their seven-month-old daughter, Johanna, died in a car crash in France.

Welby later explained,

"It was a very dark time for my wife Caroline and myself, but in a strange way it actually brought us closer to God."

Justin Welby was educated at St Peter's School, Seaford and Eton College and subsequently went to Trinity College, Cambridge where he received a B.A. degree in history and law in 1978. He went on to work for 11 years in the oil industry, becoming treasurer of the oil exploration group Enterprise Oil, where he was mainly concerned with West African and North Sea oil projects. He retired from his executive position in 1989 and said that he sensed a calling from God to be ordained. Revd Dr Andrew Atherstone wrote the first biography about Justin Welby called The Road to Canterbury.

He tells Premier he nearly didn't make it into the ministry after initially being rejected:

In a separate development, the new Archbishop of Canterbury has sent a message to Peter Tatchell, the veteran human rights campaigner, last night inviting him to meet face-to-face.

It was in response to an open letter in which Mr Tatchell accused the Archbishop of being 'homophobic' by opposing gay marriage and said that Anglicans had 'colluded' in extreme suppression of homosexuality in Africa.

The gesture is likely to further infuriate leaders of the Anglican Church in Africa and the southern hemisphere.

Canterbury was the setting for one of Mr Tatchell's most dramatic public protests in 1998 when he interrupted the then Archbishop George Carey's Easter sermon, climbing into the pulpit bearing a placard accusing him of opposing equal rights. Mr Tatchell said he was taken aback by the new Archbishop's invitation, which he said was unprecedented.

In an interview on the issue before the enthronement Justin Welby said: "when you're dealing with gay couples or straight couples, people who are co-habiting; people who are married, the numerous different combinations of relationships; former relationships that there are. You always come to people seeking to show them the love of Christ and you will deal with people pastorally where they are because that's how God deals with us, with me".

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has told Premier's Marcus Jones what we can expect from Justin Welby:

In a statement to Premier, the Archbishop of York has called on people to join him in praying for Archbishop Justin Welby as he is inaugurated at Canterbury Cathedral today.

Dr Sentamu said: "As we welcome the inauguration of our brother Justin as Archbishop of Canterbury, let us all join together in saying this prayer today: May God, who anointed the Christ with the Holy Spirit at His baptism, anoint and empower Archbishop Justin to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, to set free those who are oppressed and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. May the Lord keep him in the joy, simplicity and compassion of His Holy Gospel. Amen."

Also in attendance will be the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Albert Bogle.

Commenting, Mr Bogle said:

"We are living in challenging times which require church leaders who will speak with clarity on Gospel issues. The Church of England shares with the Church of Scotland a passion to see the Gospel transform not only our local communities here at home but also abroad.

"I'm delighted that both our national churches have a desire to work closer together on many aspects of fairness that affect all who live on these islands.

"There are a number of these issues I have already spoken with Archbishop Justin about, including the Church of Scotland's work on the purpose of economy.

"I know that future Moderators will wish to continue this dialogue. It is therefore a particular delight to be able to attend his enthronement knowing our Churches share a common goal."

The service will begin at 3pm GMT.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email