AN OLD MATE HEADING FOR CANTERBURY?

There’s been a leak from the behind-closed-doors committee that has been debating who to choose as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, har har har 😉 The bookies have stopped taking bets on Justin Welby, who is currently Bishop of Durham.

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We know and like Justin. He’s not a close friend but we were in Coventry diocese together for some years. He has a wife and 5 kids, was in charge of a parish of his own for a while, then became a canon at Coventry Cathedral, (responsible for finance), and starting from then he continues to be very involved in peace and reconciliation processes in Nigeria, both in the Niger Delta and also in northern Nigeria with Bishop Josiah Fearon of Kaduna. Dean of Liverpool Cathedral followed, and 10 months ago he was the surprise choice for Bishop of Durham.

The media will tell you that he is ex-Eton and Oxbridge, but we won’t hold that against him. They will also remark incessantly that he used to be an executive in the oil industry. As Bishop of Durham he gets to sit in the House of Lords (yes I know – don’t start!) The bishops each have an area of expertise and are called upon to make contributions when there are debates etc: and despite all the barracking, most of them are quietly doing a good job. Justin’s area is finance.

He is a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, for his sins, and last Friday he spoke to financiers in Zurich. He said that there is a need for socially useful purposes for banking and financial services. He suggested that the government should offer financial support only to banks that have a clear and explicit social value, and that banks that demonstrate a social purpose should receive an easier tax regime and a lighter regulatory touch. He also considers it’s essential to continue the process of separating investment banking from utility banking.

The recommendations of the Commission will be included in the Banking Reform Bill, which is scheduled to report on 18 December.

I have two concerns for Justin: one is, that he has had so little experience as a bishop, and this will not make his task any easier.

The second is, that the job of heading up the global Anglican Communion of 77 million people may be regarded by some as a privilege … but I’m more inclined to think of it, also, as a poisoned chalice which I would not wish on my worst enemy, never mind a friend 8|

One thing’s for sure. Justin and Caroline, if his appointment is confirmed, will need all the support our prayers can give them.

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45 thoughts on “AN OLD MATE HEADING FOR CANTERBURY?

  1. Seems to me that Justin is not what I would call ‘in the old mates’ school’. he appears to have several advantages:-
    1. He has not been in post long enough to be brainwashed by the liberals.
    2. He has a knowledge of the ‘outside’ world of commerce and banking, which means he can be a down to earth thinker.
    3. He is a ‘professed christian’ not a woolly-headed celtic Druid.

    Whatever, he MUST stand up and profess the beliefs of the Christian Community, the beliefs that have held strong through many decades.
    He should prove that he is no push-over for the exsisting Bishops and Clergy, who have run the Church down for so long. Maybe his financial background will lead to a slimming down of the heirarchy. The Church is like most large organisations-Top Heavy- and requires some drastic pruning. When many local priests are running themselves into the ground looking after as many as FIVE parishes, maybe the first cost cutting excercise he should be looking at is the number of Bishops themselves. Whilst in my last parish we were unable to get a rector, we had within a radius of 50 miles some 9 dioceses. My own diocese has in my time seen an increase from 1 Bishop to 2 Bishops + a suffragen bishop If this is not an increase of 200 % it can certainly be termed 150%. Something wrong,somewhere.
    Good luck (he’s going to need a lot) and may God’s blessing go with him.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and for this comment. I agree with much of it! However, I think I can safely say that there’s no danger of Justin being ‘brainwashed’ by anybody – he is very definitely his own man. He has a massive task ahead of him, indeed.

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  2. Having read your next post first… gosh. Well maybe his financial no how will be of great usefulness and yes… lots of prayers… I can understand your worries. Sounds a bit of an old boys network otherwise…. and maybe that will be good if it can put positive good influence out there ….???

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    1. Nearly all bishop appointments are old boy network – it makes me so cross and it also makes me suspicious of the criteria which are used to choose people …. but what do I know?? I know that Justin is spiritual and able and he will totally give it his best shot. but am feeling very iffy and gloomy about it all – not him but the WHOLE SYSTEM :>

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      1. I can understand that… but looking on the bright side :)… if he is a good egg AND spiritual AND understands the old boy thing…. he speaks the same language as them and if he is truly a good egg…. he might be able to influence them for the GOOD……let us hope so. Just written our Bidding prayers for mass as my turn and we will be praying that our Pope and Justin will have a good and fruitful relationship…:yes:

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      2. I know that’s what Justin will want! He wears the cross of nails (Coventry Cathedral’s symbol of worldwide reconciliation) as his pectoral cross so I know his heart is in building good relationships :yes:

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  3. I heard his voice this morning. I realy don’t like the sound of his voice, or his way of speaking. It would not help me feel “Love in my heart through God” at all. I miss our beloved Rowan and he who married Diana. All now gone.
    Strange, but we watched “Becket” for the first time in years, last night! I had no idea, then there was his voice this morning. Strange. JW XX

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    1. Rowan will be there until the end of the year. Justin needs our prayers as he has a staggeringly huge challenge to face. I’m not easy about the process, but there we are.

      Good to hear from you again, Charlotte! Hope you are keeping better.

      ‘Becket’ is an amazing play.

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  4. I have to admit to being somewhat shocked at this choice, however, as is always the case, only time will tell.

    I did hear that he was involved with Holy Trinity Brompton, here in London, where I have been a couple of times, and know many who are involved….it’s not for me, but definitely a refreshing place to attend.

    We shall see…and thank you for your input.x

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    1. Yes, Justin came up through the HTB ‘system’, and in fact introduced me to a strange new course called ‘Alpha’ many years ago 😉

      I know what you mean about HTB :yes: !!

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    1. Yup. When I say ‘our’ prayers I am of course referring to the Christian community! This is one situation where perhaps a bit of exclusivism would be acceptable 😉

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  5. I am most interested in his position on the Parliamentary Commission for Banking Standards. We need someone to compel the Big Banks to reform their total lack of honesty, fairness and lack of social accountability. We are all part of the same society. He will need all his knowledge and determination to bring the necessary change about.
    Heading the Anglican Community will pose a whole new set of problems.

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    1. He will have some huge challenges to face. I liked what he said to the banks – he clearly knows his stuff and has come up with some do-able suggestions. Let’s hope they listen … 🙄

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    1. Yes, it leaves me feeling uneasy. But what do I know? I’m sure the crown commissioners prayed a lot about it and so we have to trust their judgement – we don’t have a choice. What I don’t like about it is the way it all takes place behind closed doors. The Coptic Orthodox church has a much better idea, with hundreds of people voting, and the final three put into a pot – then a blindfolded child takes out one of the names, and that’s it! Excellent :yes:

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  6. I thought he was an interesting choice too…..I met him several times re my work with special needs children. I really liked him, he seems very calm, strong and self assured, all in a good way. I think he has steel in him and may do surprisingly well…..as you say, it’s a horribly difficult post to fill.xxxxx

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    1. How nice that you met him and liked him … yes, I’m sure you’re right, he must have some steel in him to survive the oil industry – oh, and the Church of England!!! 8|

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      1. He is clearly a very good lad…..:yes: However, I am concerned about his ‘precipitous rise’ in the Church….something does not ‘ring true’…..;)

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      2. You and me both, Elliott … too fast too soon and maybe not always for the best reasons (not in him but in those who make the selections) 😦

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  7. A previous Bishop of Durham……………. remember I think he said the resurrection was a conjuring trick with dry bones, was my favourite religious personality ! so being the Bishop of Durham should be no impediment to this choice either ! David

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    1. ha ha, yes, famous for that quotation which of course was taken entirely out of context!

      Justin was a surprise choice for Durham because traditionally the bishop is a theologian, and Justin isn’t, particularly.

      We shall see!!

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    1. It is a rather mysterious decision but the on-dit is that he was the outstanding candidate. I’m not sure what that’s based on, as there are plenty of bishops with experience in secular work who have far more experience. I did hope they wouldn’t choose Justin, but if they have … c’est la vie.

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      1. We were talking about this as my husband knows quite a few of the people involved.It’s a very hard job to take on…I hope his children are grown up.For someone who likes being challenged it could be exciting.. but to me it seems almost impossible to unite African Bishops wishes with the freer desired of our society and that in the USA.
        It seems a bit odd that the Church of England should spread into other countries but logic is not relevant in this sphere.no doubt it was historical accident.
        I wish him the best and feel a bit sorry for his wife… but it will be intriguing to be at that level and meeting so many people from across the world.She must keep a diary and publish a book later on as we are approaching a crux.

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      2. I was thinking of short,succinct notes on events she was present at..nowadays most of the wives will have some life of their own,I imagine.She will need something to diffuse the tensions inherent in that position.Unless its just going into the garden and yelling!!
        I wish a Blessing on them both and as a woman especially on her.

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