Just who is Justin Portal Welby?


“The man expected to be named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, turned his back on a successful career in the oil industry to train as an Anglican priest,” writes Mick Ord of the BBC:

If his appointment is confirmed, he will also bring experience of personal tragedy and of civil conflict in Africa to his new role leading 80 million Christians in more than 160 countries.

The Bishop of Durham’s rise to being on the verge of becoming the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury has been remarkably swift. He has been a bishop for little over a year and the 56-year-old became a priest only in his mid-30s.

The father-of-five emerged as a late favourite for the Church of England’s most senior post after enjoying positive media coverage, having started the contest as an outsider.

Justin Portal Welby was born in London on 6 January 1956 to Gavin Bernard Welby and his wife, Jane Gillian (nee Portal), who remarried after her husband’s death in 1975, becoming Lady Williams of Elvel.

Bishop Welby, who was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, spent 11 years as an oil executive and became group treasurer for FTSE 100 oil exploration group Enterprise Oil Plc prior to the biggest career decision of his life.

Former colleague Vivian Gibney recalls his diplomatic skills. “One of his main strengths is to find the way forward in negotiations… a solution that works for all sides,” she said.

“He is very good as seeing others’ point of view.”

Read full story here. Another good profile of Welby, “the oil man called By God” is posted at Northern Echo. And have a look at Giles Fraser’s in-depth interview with Welby, which appeared in the Guardian in July, and this from the Independent.

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Just read the Fraser interview with ++Welby. Interesting fellow! Seems much different than ++Williams. Vastly different background, which is reflected in his thinking and attention. He also speaks forthrightly, not circumspectly.

The future will be intriguing. 😀

Kevin McGrane

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