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Justin Welby says the Archbishop of Canterbury's role does not have to be filled by a 'white guy from England'

by Kelly Valencia

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he would welcome changes in the Anglican Communion structures so the denomination's leader is not always a "white guy from England".

Speaking at a conference organised by the Religion Media Centre, Most Rev Justin Welby said he would support "serious changes" and not "hold on to the position of being leader of the Anglican communion".

His remarks come as the Anglican Communion is deeply divided over issues of sexuality -  a division that was further heightened by the Church of England's resolution to support the blessing of same-sex couples.

The decision by the General Synod earlier this year sparked the rejection of Archbishop Justin's leadership from GAFCON and the GSFA, two major groups in the Anglican Communion representing the more conservative provinces. Both groups have called Archbishop Justin to step down from his role as "first among equals" and have committed to "reset" the Communion.

Christian LGBT+ groups in England are not pleased with the Church of England's decision either; the groups believe the measures approved don't go far enough, raising questions about the privileged status of the Christian denomination within parliament and its 26 bishops in the House of Lords.

When asked about the possibility of the church becoming disestablished, Archbishop Justin said that was a "question for parliament".

The 67-year-old also addressed the decline in church attendance in the last few years, regarding it as a personal failure.

"Even if I were not responsible for [it], I am certainly accountable for [it]. So that, personally, I count as failure," he said.

"I am not sure I know what else could have been done. Because in the end … the future of the church and its survival or otherwise does not depend on archbishops; it depends on God and the providence of God. And over the last 2,000 years we've been in infinitely worse places than this."

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