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LONDON: Justin Welby officially becomes archbishop of Canterbury

LONDON: Justin Welby officially becomes archbishop of Canterbury

By ACNS staff
February 4, 2013

The former bishop of Durham, the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, has officially become the archbishop of Canterbury at a ceremony, known as the "Confirmation of Election," which took place in the context of an act of worship on Feb. 4 at St. Paul's Cathedral.

The ceremony forms part of the legal process by which the appointment of the new archbishop of Canterbury is put into effect. It was presided over by Archbishop of York John Sentamu with the assistance of the bishops of London, Winchester, Salisbury, Worcester, Rochester, Lincoln, Leicester and Norwich. All were commissioned for this purpose by Her Majesty The Queen - who is the supreme governor of the Church of England.

Welby's name was put forward to The Queen some months ago by the church's "Crown Nominations Commission" in accordance with constitutional arrangements that have been in place for many years. The appointment is formalized by legal steps taken in accordance with the Appointment of Bishops Act 1533. First, his election was undertaken in January by the dean and canons of Canterbury Cathedral. Next, their election of him has to be confirmed by the wider church, which is what happened today.

The appointment is significant not only for the Diocese of Canterbury (where Welby will be the diocesan bishop, though much of the day-to-day oversight of the diocese is carried out on his behalf by the bishop of Dover), but also for the wider Province of Canterbury - the 29 dioceses in the South of England, and the Diocese of Europe, which all fall under his general oversight.

In addition, it is to the bishop of the See of Canterbury, with which Anglicans have historically been in communion, that Anglicans worldwide give a primacy of honor and respect among the college of bishops in the Anglican Communion - as 'first among equals' (primus inter pares). In that role, as a focus and means of unity within the communion, the archbishop convenes and works with the Lambeth Conference and Primates' Meeting, and presides in the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion's main policy-making body.

Since at least the fourth century it has been a fundamental principle in the Christian Church that the election of a new bishop must be confirmed by the wider church, especially by the bishops of the region. The legal significance of the act of confirmation cannot be overstated: it confers upon the new archbishop "the care, government and administration of the spirituals' of the archbishopric. It is the confirmation of his election which makes the archbishop-elect into the bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury and archbishop of the province.

The wording used in the course of the confirmation ceremony has a long history. Before the 18th century it was in Latin, but in about 1733 an English translation was introduced. At the service today, a somewhat modernized version was used. It involved recital of the Mandate from the Queen, authorizing the appointment; introduction of the new archbishop; certification of the steps taken in his election by the dean and canons of Canterbury; his Declaration of Assent to the historic doctrines and worship of the Church of England; a 'charge' by the archbishop of York, based on the needs of the diocese and province perceived by those involved in his appointment; and finally a 'sentence' conferring on him spiritual jurisdiction over the diocese and province.

Enthronement on March 21

After this step has been taken, there remain other formal stages before he begins his public ministry in Church and State, in particular his act of 'Homage' to The Queen. The public inauguration of his ministry - 'the Enthronement' - will take place at Canterbury Cathedral on March 21, and will be broadcast live on the BBC.

Meanwhile, the new archbishop will be familiarizing himself with the tasks he will be called upon to perform over the coming years, meeting those he will be working with most closely, and preparing himself generally for all that lies ahead. He invites your prayers, for himself, his family, the church and the nation, during this period of preparation - and beyond.

*****

LAMBETH PALACE: Archbishop of York's welcome to Archbishop Justin Welby

February 4, 2013

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has welcomed Justin Welby's Confirmation of Election as Archbishop of Canterbury with the following message of support:

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: "Archbishop Justin Welby brings many gifts to bring to the office of Archbishop of Canterbury. He has my prayers and my support as he assumes this challenging role in the service of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion worldwide. Today his Election has been Confirmed as Archbishop of Canterbury - it is official. May God bless you Justin.

Above all at the start of Justin's new ministry I hope that we shall all be open to the constant outpouring of the Holy Spirit, renewing us in faith, in hope, and in love. Anyone becoming an Archbishop is conscious both of the heritage of faithful witness in which we stand, and of today's challenges and opportunities to make Christ known afresh in this generation. It is a privilege and responsibility we all share as followers of Christ in this land, as we are charged, along with Archbishop Justin, with the message of the all-embracing love of God in Jesus Christ, who rose gloriously from death to life on the first Easter day. It is to this ministry that Bishop Justin has been called.

Like any Bishop in the Church of England the Archbishop of Canterbury has a role in looking out for the needs of all sections of the community, whatever their religious tradition or belief, with special attention to the most vulnerable members of our society. The Archbishop does not carry this great responsibility alone, but in his public role he rightly represents the many hours of commitment and service put in by volunteers up and down the country who strive together in their local communities for the common good.

From his work with the Parliamentary Inquiry into Banking Standards we already know Justin Welby to be both outspoken in the pursuit of justice, and unafraid to grapple with complex issues.

I repeat the invitation to prayer I made some weeks ago when the announcement about Archbishop Justin's appointment was first made. As I said then, prayer is the Church's greatest weapon, without which we are spiritually powerless. I call upon everyone in the Church of England, and in the wider Anglican Communion, especially those in the Global South, to spend time with God on their knees, bringing Bishop Justin, Caroline and their children before Him and asking that he be given wisdom, courage and the grace of Jesus Christ.

My own prayer is that we now all commit ourselves to journeying together as one body in Christ, listening to each other, waiting on Almighty God, and, by His grace, learning to walk together, so as to make more of a difference for the sake of the Gospel. May ours be the vocabulary of trust, kindness, joy, simplicity, love, justice, compassion and faithfulness. May the quality of our relationships shine through all that we do here. And may the presence of God here be a reality which is visible everywhere.

And Justin, my brother in Christ, I will pray for you and stand alongside you in this ministry. May the Lord richly bless you."

END

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