ACCJ statement on installation of Archbishop of Canterbury


The ACCJ extends its warm congratulations to the Anglican Church in Australia and to each of its Dioceses on the installation of the Anglican Church’s new Head, the Bishop of Durham, the Most Reverend Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury this week.
Archbishop Welby is the new leader of the Anglican Church and interestingly it follows the resignation/ retirement of the prior Head, Archbishop Rowan Williams who will take up a University position as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
This seems to have set a trend for resignation with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in February which led to the installation of Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, this week.
We note the comments by the Primate of the Anglican Church in Australia, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall who said:
“This is an historic moment, for Anglicans and for Christians everywhere, who this week celebrate two new, strong, courageous leaders,…”
“The Archbishop of Canterbury strikes me as a leader for our time, a man of prayer who chose God over personal fortune, who has faced deep personal grief and loss, and who repeatedly faced death while acting as a conflict negotiator in Africa and the Middle East”. …
The Australian Primate has described Archbishop Welby as “…a person of humility and simplicity……. “He’s a reconciler. He’s a man of prayer. He’s engaging and warm, with a good sense of humour.”
Such attributes will stand him in good stead in a steadily more complex world.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is leader of some 80 million Anglicans worldwide and the Archbishop has a background quite different to Pope Francis who trained initially as a pharmacist.
We understand that the Archbishop is a former executive in the oil industry, a far cry from a pastoral role as head of a church.
Also it is interesting that a historical first in the installation of the Archbishop of Canterbury was that he was installed by a woman, Sheila Watson, Archdeacon of Canterbury. And that in an ecumenical move, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, the leader of Catholics in England, read the New Testament lesson.
In his installation sermon, the Archbishop apparently said he wanted to foster closer ties with other Christians and heal splits within the Anglican communion which is deeply divided over the issue of women bishops and the secularization of public political life.
We note that the new Archbishop is committed to interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews as exemplified by his conversation with the now former Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth, Lord Sacks. We understand that the discussion covered from business ethics to the importance of The Council of Christians and Jews and the place of the Holy Land in Jewish-Christian relationships, with the Archbishop affirming the importance of the State of Israel for the Jewish community in the United Kingdom and in the wider world.
Consistent with some of the tenets of the Berlin Document of the International Council of Christians and Jews, the Archbishop has stated that faith can play a role in public life and notably in the areas of the environment, equity, welfare and social development, the alleviation of poverty, the protection of vulnerable children and the development of a vibrant economy.
We understand that in this regard, he said:
“There is every possible reason for optimism about the future of Christian faith in our world and in this country….. The present challenges of environment and economy, of human development and global poverty, can only be faced with extraordinary Christ- liberated courage.”

We in the ACCJ wish him and the Anglican Church both in Australia and globally, well, and that, echoing the words of Bishop Solomon Johnson of West Africa, “(the Archbishop) …. being an (oil industry)…executive for years, … ..knows the dynamics of how to get things moving using the talent of others and … .(will achieve ways of greater cohesion within the Anglican Church globally).”