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New Archbishop of Canterbury is Pro-Women Bishops and Gays

New Archbishop of Canterbury is Pro-Women Bishops and Gays

The Church of England has chosen its next leader in Justin Welby, a former oil executive who has been Bishop of Durham for just over a year.

Justin Welby’s appointment, made by the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, theQueen, was confirmed by Downing Street early Friday morning after a week of speculation in the press that this relative unknown would be the one to take up the mantle following Dr Rowan Williams’ stepping down to take up apost as master ofMagdalene College, Cambridge.

This comes as quite a surprise as there were a number of more high profile candidates who were tipped for the post and who seemed ideally suited to the direction the Church had oriented itself toward in the latter years of Dr Rowan Williams’ tenure, namely the media’s go-to for comment on all things morality, Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu.

Welby, in contrast, has until this week enjoyed relativeanonymity.

Welby, 56, was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and has enjoyed several positions both in and outside of church life. These positions include Rector of Southam (1995 to 2002),Vicar of Ufton, Coventry diocese (1998 to 2002), Canon Residentiary at Coventry Cathedral (2002 to 2007), and Dean of Liverpool (2007 to 2011).

In the wider world, Welby has also been the Chairman of an NHS Hospital Trust (2000-2002), has served as a committee member on ethical funds for a large investment company and, most recently, is currently part of the Banking Standards Commission which was set up in the wake of the global economic crisis and the resulting investigation into Britain’s banks which found widespread mishandling in the banking sector.

With regards to his appointment, Welby is quoted as saying:

“To be nominated to this post is both astonishing and exciting. It is something I never expected, and the last few weeks have been a very strange experience.

“It is exciting because we are at one of those rare points where the tide of events is turning, and the church nationally, including the Church of England has great opportunities to match its very great but often hidden strengths.

“I feel a massive sense of privilege at being one of those responsible for the leadership of the church in a time of spiritual hunger, when our network of parishes and churches and schools and above all people means that we are facing the toughest issues in the toughest place.”

So, what kind of leadership will the new Archbishop of Canterbury bring to the role?

If Welby’s first speech given at Lambeth Palace on Friday is anything to go by, his ordination seems almost a direct response to the two biggest issues facing the Church, both of which have threatened a schism, those being gay rights and specifically gay marriage, and the ordination of women bishops.

Welby wasted no time in declaring his support for female ordinations, saying:

“I will be voting in favour, and join my voice to many others in urging the synod to go forward with this change.”

The significance in both timing and tone cannot be overstated.

The campaign for the ordination of women bishops has been at an impasse and with a vote at the end of the year looming on the horizon, those advocating the move desperately needed a new source of support as, until this juncture, the Church’s orthodoxy has seemed decidedly reluctant about risking the possibility of shedding even more of its more conservative members.

On the issue of gay rights, Welby also will have delighted many when he declared:

“It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people cohabiting in different forms ofrelationships, including civil partnerships.

“We must have no truck with any form ofhomophobia in any part of the church.”

To some this may sound flowery and generally nice without much substance, but this carries with it a definitive statement that is hard to ignore.

It is a message not so much for British ears but rather for those evangelicals in areas like Uganda and Nigeria where religion is currently being used as a motivation not just to perpetuate homophobia but also to actively persecute gay people. Admittedly, the previous head of the church Dr Rowan Williams had made similar statements, but they were often couched in very careful rhetoric.

But, and there did have to be a but, Welby went on to say that, in line with his past statements, he supports the recommendation of the House of Bishops against legalizing same-sex marriage in the UK — despite the fact that this is solely a civil law affair and of no real consequence to religious institutions beyond driving home the point that Britain is rapidly becoming a largely secular nation.

However, Welby did qualify this with the following:

“But I also know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT communities and examine my own thinking carefully and prayerfully.”

This puts Welby’s tone in stark contrast to other British religious leaders like, for instance, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who has through dangerous and often mystifying rhetoric made it his business to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage.

It remains to be seen if Welby’s appointment marks a rethink from the Anglican Church which, for a while, seemed to be flirting with a move toward the more conservative, but certainly Welby will have a difficult task ahead of him given that the issue of gay rights, gay marriage, and gay priests has all of it caused the Church of England several headaches as it attempts to please both the socially liberal and its bedrock conservatives.

The outgoing Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams evensaid upon announcing his resignation earlier this year that his successor would need the”constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros.”

Whether this describes Welby, we will have to wait and see.

Welby will be the105th Archbishop of Canterbury. He willbe enthroned on March 21, 2013.

 

Related Reading:

Celibate Gay Men Could BeChurch Of England Bishops

Gay Activists are “The Gaystapo” saysChurch of England Newspaper

Let Gays into ‘Christian Marriage’ Says St Paul’s New Dean

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185 comments

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5:24AM PST on Nov 17, 2012

This seems hopeful. Maybe the CofE has finally realised it has to move on or die.

4:13AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

Thanks for the info

8:56PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

continued,
A 7-year jail sentence for consenting adults who have gay sex;
A life sentence for people in same-sex marriages;
Extradition and prosecution of LGBT Ugandans living abroad;
The death penalty for adults who have gay sex with minors or people with disabilities, consensual or no, or gay sex with a partner who has HIV, regardless of condom usage or consent;
Jail for anyone who doesn’t report suspected gay people within 24 hours;
A ban on the “promotion” of homosexuality so open-ended that it would endanger HIV/AIDS treatment and sexual health clinics in the country, and could effectively exclude gay people from petitioning the courts by making those representing them liable for criminal action;
A mandate to break all ties with international commitments and laws opposing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.'
=========

This is EXACTLY THE SORT OF THING that Dr. Welby has TAKEN A STAND AGAINST...
The sort of controversy SPLITTING THE ANGLICAN CHURCH that NEEDED a bold stand to be taken. Yes, the African churches are going NUTS on this... {NOT "African tradition", by the way - but, IMPORTED. By bigoted Missionaries.}

8:55PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Welby declared: “We must have no truck with any form of homophobia in any part of the church.” To some this may sound flowery and generally nice without much substance, but this carries with it a definitive statement that is hard to ignore.
It is a message not so much for British ears but rather for those evangelicals in areas like Uganda and Nigeria where religion is currently being used as a motivation not just to perpetuate homophobia but also to actively persecute gay people.
SUCH AS... a 'bill... inspired by American evangelicals who, not content with a rising tide of gay rights legislation in the U.S., have decided to export their anti-LGBT agenda abroad.
The bill that, under international scrutiny, came to be known as the “Kill the Gays” bill has many more outright offenses to human rights than just the death penalty mandate.
These include:
A 7-year jail sentence for consenting adults who have gay sex;
A life sentence for people in same-sex marriages;
Extradition and prosecution of LGBT Ugandans living abroad;
The death penalty for adults who have gay sex with minors or people with disabilities, consensual or no, or gay sex with a partner who has HIV, regardless of condom usage or consent;
Jail for anyone who doesn’t report suspected gay people within 24 hours;
A ban on the “promotion” of homosexuality so open-ended that it would endanger HIV/AIDS treatment and sexual health clinics in the country, an

8:38PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Gay Marriage is sweeping the WORLD!!! And COMPLETE EQUAL RIGHTS IN EVERY SPHERE OF ACTIVITY for LGBTQI People. {Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex, and Queer or Questioning People.} That's the Great Civil Rights battle of our present time.
One by one by one by one, ALL the ramparts against it are falling. We have seen a HUGE advance marked by this election in the U.S. The appointment of a "tolerant" C of E Head is ANOTHER great advance. Every single Gay or Bi or Trans person who Comes Out, whether a "celebrity" or just your neighbor or a friend or a teen {now even pre-teens!}, every ONE of them means a SIGNIFICANT advancement for all of Humanity!!!
It has been a long, hard struggle - with areas still relatively untouched.
There is a significant BACKLASH sponsored by Right-wing Republican Evangelicals from the US, frustrated in their homophobic agenda HERE, going to the "fringes", to African countries, to instigate Homophobia THERE {which is NOT in "African traditions"!}. The appointment of an outspoken C of E head, will, it is hoped, serve to help turn back the Homophobia of so-called "Christians" in Africa and set them again on traditional paths of tolerance that prevailed before the coming of bigoted "Christian" missionaries and European Colonialism.

4:05PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

wow!

2:42PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

David G,
Yes,I agree... its a strange kind of mindset...but once one's been indoctrinated into it,
converts forget somehow it was a committee(of men) who decided which letters and documents were and were not, to be "scripture". Evangelicals assume ALL the OT and NT stories to be correct and that someone just happened to be there to record them (without bias) verbatim!
Its difficult for them to understand the nature of stories and storytelling.
They can't accept the truth that stories change in the telling and are altered not only by the scribes "helping the message" but even by the mind of any reader.
The gospel of John (which claims the most dialog of Jesus) was written much later, during a time Christianity had already been spread to Greeks and Romans through the apostle Paul. There are Greek concepts in the gospel of John that the earlier Jewish accounts don't have. Already, the new religion had morphed to appeal to outsiders that Jesus (according to the accounts) had little to do with when teaching as a Jewish rabbi.

2:31PM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Susan you have my humble apologies.

7:35AM PST on Nov 14, 2012

It always makes me smile when people quote their scripture as if this somehow lends validity to their argument. "The Bible is true because the Bible says it is true." No matter how many times I've had a Christian tells me that the only way to "salvation" is through Jesus (because the Bible tells us so), I've yet to hear a reasonable explanation as to why their holy book should be considered any more valid than any other holy book. Mostly, I don't really care what other people believe. If they want to believe in magic and everlasting life and Santa and unicorns - let them. It becomes a problem when people who say they believe in this stuff feel that I should abide by their rules too. For all the assertions that what I should believe is between me and Jesus/God/Allah/The Flying Spaghetti Monster, most of the time it's the faithful I seem to have most to fear from.

6:04AM PST on Nov 14, 2012

thanks

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