Welby to be Archbishop of Canterbury
A former oil executive, the Right Rev Justin Welby, will today be named as the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church worldwide after spending just one year as a bishop.
Currently the Bishop of Durham, his appointment comes following months of deadlock among the Crown Nominations Commission, the body responsible for sending names to Downing Street.
His rise in the church has been meteoric. In 1992, he became a curate after quitting the oil industry. By 2002, he was a still just a canon at Coventry Cathedral.
Explaining his decision last year to quit a high-paying job which led to over a decade working in Africa, he said: “I was unable to get away from a sense of God calling.” His epiphany occurred after the tragic death of his eldest child, Johanna, in a car crash in France in 1983 when she was just seven months old.
Regarded as an evangelical, Bishop Welby favours women bishops and modern styles of worship, but backs a conservative interpretation of the Bible and opposes gay marriage.
Given his business experience, he was appointed by chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne to a commission investigating standards in the banking industry.
“Coming from a Christian point of view on human sinfulness and failure, the efficient market system doesn’t work. People don’t make rational decisions in markets more than anywhere else,” he said when his appointment was announced.
Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie last night urged that Bishop Welby, who traded derivatives during his time in the oil industry and is well acquainted with the operations of the Libor interbank lending system, should stay on as a member.
“I heartily congratulate Justin. He is making an outstanding contribution to our work. He is a man of the cloth with considerable experience of industry and finance,” said the chairman of the banking commission.
Last night, Labour MPs called for an investigation into whether leaks from the nominations commission – which has struggled to reach agreement – had prompted last-minute bets.
Describing it as “potential insider trading”, MP Chris Bryant said: “It’s pretty shabby if someone had knowledge that was on his way to becoming the archbishop and put a bet on it.”
One of his predecessors in Lambeth Palace, Lord Carey, highlighted the challenges ahead: “Nothing he has ever done before will have prepared him for this most challenging and exposed of positions, but he will never have a more wonderful opportunity to experience the amazing grace of God.”
Factfile Anglican Communion
The Archbishop of Canterbury is Primate of All-England and titular head of the world-wide Anglican Communion.
The third-largest Christian denomination internationally, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, it comprises an estimated 80 million Christians in 38 provinces across 164 countries.
Each province is autonomous, with its own system of governance and senior archbishop or bishop – a primate.
The communion is held together by a shared heritage and what is termed “affection and common loyalty”, rather than any formal constitution or church law.
Each province is in “in full communion with the See of Canterbury” so the Archbishop of Canterbury “in his person, is a unique focus of Anglican unity”. He calls the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, chairs meetings of Anglican primates, and is president of the Anglican Consultative Council.
In these islands, member churches are the Church of Ireland, the Church of England, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales.
In the US it is known as the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.Archbishop-elect Welby will be the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury since St Augustine who, in AD 597 arrived in Kent and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. He was sent by Pope Gregory I. PATSY McGARRY