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Welby: Anglicans Must Deal with Their Past

Welby: Anglicans Must Deal with Their Past

In comments made during the online election service for the new Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, Justin Welby said that Anglicans must confront their own history of racism.

The Church of England’s highest-ranking cleric was speaking in a virtual ceremony to mark the formal election of Stephen Cottrell as the 98th Archbishop of York.

The Church of England, established in 1534 after king Henry VIII’s split from Roman Catholicism, last month apologised for its links to slavery, calling it a “source of shame”.

The apology came against a backdrop of anti-racism protests in Britain and across the world, sparked by the death during the police arrest of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in the United States.

Welby said the Church’s past included both “saints and slave traders”. 

“Living as Christians requires us to live not only in fellowship with Christians around the world but also with the Church throughout time,” he said.

“With the Church of England, we know that some of those bring baggage. We find saints and slave traders, the proud and prelatical, with the humble servant of the people.

“They are part of us, of our inheritance, to be reformed, to be repented of, to be imitated.”

The BBC further reports that Archbishop Welby also acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic in his remarks following the formal election.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said “the foundations of our society have been shaken to their core by the ravages of the coronavirus”.

Speaking as he opened the service, he added: “The whole church is committed to pray for all those who have been affected and continue to be affected by this pandemic.”


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Barbara Shoemaker

I believe we must all do what we can, big or small, guided by the Holy Spirit, to first recognize our collective past, seek repentance and reconciliation of our present and make deliberate decisions to live the Gospel today and as the future path takes us.

Eric Bonetti

I’d be happy to see The Episcopal Church comes to terms with its racist past, but given its inability to deal with its current issues, this would seem a difficult stretch.

BTW, there’s a certain irony here in Richmond, where officials talk about racial equality and social justice, all the while ensconced in the antediluvian antebellum heap —- quite possibly built by slaves — that is Mayo House. Do diocesan officials really believe that holding forth in a place that looks like a poorly kept Twelve Oaks is doing anything to help their case? Or that it is inviting to persons of color? Or that it smacks of anything but white privilege?

Eric Bonetti

PS No doubt being across the street from the Jefferson Hotel is convenient when hosting overnight guests. But I’d be considerably more confident in the diocese were its offices located in a part of the city struggling with urban blight, or if it offered a food pantry or other assistance to the surrounding community.


Wonder if such will consider suicide as a path proper for giving up ‘white privilege’ and the rest of the current rot being pushed on everyone willing to endure the stuff.

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