It’s official. It’s Archbishop Welby


It’s official. Justin Welby is officially the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The BBC is on the story:

The appointment of Bishop Welby to the most senior post in the Church of England was announced in November.

Dr Williams stepped down in December.

The Confirmation of Election ceremony was presided over by Archbishop of York, John Sentamu and attended by the bishops of Norwich, Leicester, Lincoln, Rochester, Winchester, Salisbury and London.

Dr Sentamu, who preached at the service, said: “Archbishop Justin Welby brings many gifts 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.”

The Anglican Communion News Service is also on the story.

The Rev. Justin Lewis-Anthony, who gave the hospitality of his parish hall to the Chicago Consultation and Integrity during the 2008 Lambeth Conference, calls on Welby to be a “disciple rather than a leader” in today’s Guardian:

This is how the myth is told: someone comes from the outside, into our failing community. He is a man of mystery, with a barely suppressed air of danger about him. At first he refuses to use his skills to save our community, until there is no alternative, and then righteous violence rains down. The community is rescued from peril, but in doing so the stranger is mortally wounded. He leaves, his sacrifice unnoticed by all.

This is the plot of Shane, Triumph of the Will, Saving Private Ryan and practically every western every made. It is the founding myth of our politics and our society. It tells us that violence works, and that leadership only comes from the imposition of a superman’s will upon the masses, and preferably those masses “out there”, not us. Williams recognised this: “When people say, ‘We want you to give a lead’, what they mean is, ‘We want you to tell them, not us. We don’t want to be led.'” In the end, leadership means doing beastly things, to other people.

The need for “leadership'” in our society is fatally flawed by its roots. Instead, the Christian faith has a better word for the ministry to which he, and every Christian, is called: disciple. It doesn’t matter how many hyphens we tack on to the front of it (“servant-leadership”, “compassionate-leadership”, “collaborative-leadership”), it is still leadership, and therefore antithetical to the model, ministry and challenge of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. I don’t want Justin Welby to be a leader. I’d hope that the new archbishop could be a disciple, and one who can help others to become disciples as well.

The Guardian also has a video of Welby speaking against the civil marriage legislation in the United Kingdom, and general coverage of today’s activities.

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Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis

The comments of Rev.Justin Lewis Anthony quoted here are contextualized to some degree with a reading of his entire Guardian article. He started off strong; but by the time the reader gets to the paragraph quoted here above, he lapses into the effet, in the sense of an over refined, parsing of leadership in contradistinciton to discipleship.

The problem churches face is too little, not too much, leadership. Who could possibbly deny that, for instance, William Temple, or John 23rd, or Desmond Tutu are outstanding examples of leadership within the context of the ministry of overisight.

As for folowership, the ability to bring along even the resistant and the reluctant, is part of leading a team. And while I hate to be pedestrian and bring Jesus into this, it appears to be the kind of leadership our Lord (interesting title, no?) pulled off and inspired in others. (John 21:18)

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