Norwich Bishop welcomes new Archbishop
Prime Minister David Cameron has today announced that the Bishop of Durham, the Right Rev Justin Welby, is to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury, an appointment welcomed by fellow front-runner for the role, the Bishop of Norwich.
The Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said: “I am delighted about the appointment. Justin has the gifts to lead the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion with distinction. He has made a big impact as a bishop over the past year but has a wide experience which will serve him well and benefit all of us. He can be sure of my prayers and unreserved support in his new and demanding ministry."
The Queen approved the nomination of the Bishop Welby for election as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury to succeed Dr Rowan Williams who is retiring at the end of December after ten years as Archbishop.
Currently Bishop of Durham, Bishop Welby (aged 56), 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.”
Dr Rowan Williams said: "I am delighted at the appointment of the Right Rev 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."
Educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied history and law, Bishop Welby has worked in the oil industry for 11 years, 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.
For 20 years, his ministry has blended deep devotion to his parish communities with Church work around the world, especially in areas of conflict. He has been a Canon of Coventry Cathedral, and Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, the largest in England, where he brought the Cathedral into much greater contact with its local community of Toxteth, working with asylum seekers and in partnership with neighbouring churches.
In June 2011, he became Bishop of Durham and is married to Caroline, who studied Classics at Cambridge, where they met. They have two sons and three daughters.
Bishop Welby will be enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March, 2013.
For further information visit www.archbishopofcanterbury.org
Pictured above is Rt Rev Justin Welby, image courtesy of Durham Diocese.
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