Following the announcement by Downing Street this morning of the appointment of the Right Reverend Justin Welby for election as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Dover and the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral have expressed their delight at the news.
The Right Reverend Justin Welby, aged 56, who is currently Bishop of Durham, said today: “I don’t think anyone could be more surprised than me at the outcome of this process. It has been an experience, reading more about me than I knew myself. To be nominated to Canterbury is at the same time overwhelming and astonishing. It is overwhelming because of those I follow, and the responsibility it has. It is astonishing because it is something I never expected to happen.
“One of the hardest things will be to leave Durham. I work with a group of wonderful senior colleagues and remarkable clergy and lay people. It is an astonishing part of the country, one which as a family we were greatly looking forward to living in for many years. The people are direct, inspiring and wonderfully friendly. In many ways it has been the ancient cradle of British Christianity. It is a place of opportunity and an even greater future than its past.”
The Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, welcomed the news saying: “I am delighted that Bishop Justin Welby will become the new Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop Elect has a powerful vision for the Church in contemporary society and a breadth of experience in the Church and in the world and I can think of no one better to lead the Anglican Church.
“An experienced pastor, Dr Welby has demonstrated a deep commitment to all the communities he has served, including those struggling socially and economically in Liverpool and Durham. Through his extensive reconciliation work in Africa and the Middle East and through his work on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in the UK, Bishop Justin has shown his passion for Christian mission to this country and the world.
“I know the Diocese joins with me in congratulating Dr Welby on his appointment. We all look forward to welcoming Dr Welby to Canterbury and to sharing our ministry with him here in Kent.”
The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, added his welcome: “Everyone at Canterbury Cathedral is delighted by the news of this appointment. We very much look forward to welcoming Dr Welby to Canterbury for his Enthronement and to both him and his family becoming part of this community.”
Dr Rowan Williams, who is retiring at the end of December after ten years as Archbishop of Canterbury, issued the following statement:
“I am delighted at the appointment of the Right Reverend Justin Welby to Canterbury. I have had the privilege of working closely with him on various occasions and have always been enriched and encouraged by the experience.
He has an extraordinary range of skills and is a person of grace, patience, wisdom and humour; he will bring to this office both a rich pastoral experience and a keen sense of international priorities, for Church and world. I wish him – with Caroline and the family – every blessing, and hope that the Church of England and the Anglican Communion will share my pleasure at this appointment and support him with prayer and love.”
Dr Welby, who succeeds Dr Rowan Williams, will be enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral on 21st March 2013.ENDS
Contact information: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese:
Spokesperson: The Bishop of Dover, The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott is available for interviews, please contact Emily Shepherd.
Notes to Editors
Biographical details of the Right Reverend Justin Welby and about the roles of an Archbishop of Canterbury are attached below, along with other relevant background material.
Born in 1956 in London, the Right Reverend Justin Welby was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied history and law. For 11 years – five in Paris and six in London – he worked in the oil industry, becoming group treasurer of a large British exploration and production company. He focused mainly on West African and North Sea projects. During this period he became a lay leader at Holy Trinity, Brompton in London, having been a council member at St Michael’s Church in Paris.
His father’s family were German Jewish immigrants who moved to England to escape anti- Semitism in the late 19th century, and integrated quickly. His British ancestors, on his mother’s side, include several clergymen.
A major influence both on Justin and his wife Caroline was their experience of personal tragedy. In 1983 their seven-month old daughter died in a car crash in France. Six years later in 1989, after sensing a call from God, Bishop Justin stood down from industry to train for ordination.
He took a theology degree at St John’s College, Durham, in which he focused on ethics – particularly in business. He has since published articles on ethics, international finance and reconciliation. His booklet, ‘Can Companies Sin?’, drawing on his experience in the oil industry, evolved from his dissertation at theological college. He has frequently said that the Roman Catholic approach to Christian social teaching, beginning with the encyclical of Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, up to Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas Veritate, has greatly influenced his social thinking.
For 20 years, his ministry has blended deep devotion to his parish communities with Church work around the world, especially in areas of conflict.
After being ordained Deacon in 1992, he spent 15 years serving Coventry Diocese. His Curacy was at All Saints Chilvers Coton with St Mary the Virgin Astley, in Nuneaton. In 1995 he became Rector of St James, Southam, a small market town in the same Diocese – and also the next year of St Michael and All Angels, Ufton, the neighbouring parish. He helped revive both churches, growing their congregations and launching bereavement and baptism teams, among other things. Between 2000 and 2002 he also chaired an NHS hospital trust in South Warwickshire.
In 2002, he was made a Canon of Coventry Cathedral, where he ran the reconciliation work based there. With Canons Andrew White and Stephen Davis, he worked extensively in the field in Africa and the Middle East. He has a particular interest in Kenya, the DRC and Nigeria, where he was and remains involved in work with groups involved in conflict in the north. In the Niger Delta, he has worked on reconciliation with armed groups. He met with religious and political leaders in Israel and Palestine, and on one trip to Baghdad reopened the Anglican Church with Canon Andrew White, shortly after the allied invasion. In 2006 he also took responsibility for Holy Trinity Coventry, the main city centre church, as Priest-in- charge.
He left Coventry five years later, being installed Dean of Liverpool on 8 December 2007, replacing the Right Reverend Rupert Hoare. Liverpool Cathedral is the largest cathedral in England. Its local area, Toxteth, is among the most deprived in north-west Europe. During his deanship, he brought the Cathedral into much greater contact with its local community, working with asylum seekers and in partnership with neighbouring churches. The Cathedral also hosted events from a TUC rally to royal services. Over his four years, during which he also continued to work on reconciliation and mediation projects overseas, the Cathedral’s congregation increased significantly.
In 2011, he returned to the place where his journey towards becoming Archbishop began: on 2 June 2011, he was announced as the new Bishop of Durham, taking over from the Right Reverend Tom Wright. He was enthroned at Durham Cathedral on 26 November, and drew parallels between Liverpool and Durham – noting both the struggles and the enduring spirit of the two places.
On 9 November 2012, the Right Reverend Justin Welby was announced as the 105th Archbishop of the See of Canterbury. He will succeed Dr Rowan Williams, who is retiring at the end of December after 10 years as Archbishop. He will be enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013.
An expert on the politics and history of Kenya and Nigeria, he has lectured on reconciliation at the US State Department. In the summer of 2012, he was asked to join the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
His interests include French culture, sailing and politics.
He is married to Caroline, who studied Classics at Cambridge, where they met. They have two sons and three daughters.
Trinity College, Cambridge M.A. 1978
Société Nationale Elf Aquitaine, Paris 1978-1983
Elf UK plc, London 1983-1984, Enterprise Oil plc, London, 1984-1989
St John’s College, Durham, B.A and Dip.Min. 1992
Deacon 1992, Priest 1993
Assistant Curate of All Saints, Chilvers Coton and St Mary the Virgin, Astley 1992-1995
Rector of St James, Southam, and St Michael and All Angels, Ufton, Diocese of Coventry 1995 – 2002
Canon Residentiary, Coventry Cathedral 2002 – 2005
Canon Residentiary and Sub Dean, Coventry Cathedral 2005 – 2007
Priest-in-Charge, Holy Trinity, Coventry 2007
Dean of Liverpool 2007 – 2011
Elected Bishop of Durham on 2 June 2011. Bishop Justin was consecrated at York Minster on 28 October and enthroned at Durham Cathedral on 26 November 2011.
The main roles of the Archbishop of Canterbury
The various roles and responsibilities of the Archbishop of Canterbury have developed over more than 1400 years of history. The one constant is his ministry as a senior bishop, though the nature and purpose of his authority differs in different contexts
Historically the central role, and the source of the archbishop’s authority, is as Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury (the local church of Canterbury. His diocese in East Kent has a population of 890,000 people and comprises 261 parishes in an area of nearly 1,000 square miles.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the Primate of All England (the ‘first bishop’ of England), and shares several roles with the Archbishop of York. For well over a thousand years the distinction of the Diocese of Canterbury has given its bishop formal responsibility as a ‘metropolitan’ – the first among the bishops of a region. He has authority (also known as ‘jurisdiction’) at all times in the 30 dioceses of his Province – 29 in southern England, and 1 in Continental Europe. York has the same roles in relation to the 14 dioceses of his Province. Based on his oversight in the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury became the original sign of the unity of the bishops and local churches of the Anglican Communion – all 34 provinces in communion with See of Canterbury, a total of about 80 million members throughout the world which has developed over the last 200 years or so. He is the focus and spokesman of its unity today, but shares his oversight as president of the Communion with other bodies.
In the last two areas of dialogue and activity – Ecumenical relationships between Christian Churches, and Inter Religious relationships between different traditional world religions – the Archbishop has no formal authority. But his role in England and the UK, and his leadership in the Communion at large, give him significant influence and the responsibility to speak authoritatively for the faith and witness of the Church, the Anglican Church in particular.
Further details about the Outline of procedures for the appointment of an Archbishop of Canterbury can be found here: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/2403/outline‐of‐procedures‐for‐the‐ appointment‐of‐an‐archbishop‐of‐canterbury