From the Chairman of the Church of England Evangelical Council, the Venerable Michael Lawson
The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) warmly welcomes the appointment of the Right Revd Justin Welby to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. We recognize in him a man of deep devotion to God, exceptional intellectual and leadership qualities, and a range of experience which like the Prime Minister we see as a breath of fresh air for the Church’s ministry to real people facing the demanding situations and decisions of contemporary life.
In the run up to the appointment much has been made of Justin Welby’s old Etonian background, and his limited experience as a bishop, as if these factors would automatically disqualify him for this most senior role. Yet anyone who knows him recognizes his excellent and non prejudicial way with people of all kinds of backgrounds, and his wide-ranging hands on experience in all aspects of practical church ministry as a parish priest, residentiary canon, Dean of Liverpool, and his most recent post as Bishop of Durham. Add to that his expereince in the oil industry in Paris and London, in Coventry his expertise in reconciliation, and his knowledge of ethics and finance about which he has written widely, all this spells a fresh and relevant additional skill set for the many challenges which will face him in his new role as Archbishop.
We’re glad as a recognition of his orthodoxy, the wider Anglican Communion is already welcoming the new Archbishop’s appointment. Significantly also his experience in Africa has been welcomed by one of Nigeria’s most prominent Muslim politicians, which says much about Justin’s Welby’s interpersonal and communication abilities, and is also hopeful perhaps for some contribution to reconcilliation in the troubled relationships between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims.
Clearly this is a man committed firmly to the message of the Bible, and truth and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to transform persons, communities and the nation. He, Caroline and their five children deserve the commitement of all our prayers. This is a good moment for our church and nation, and the wider world too. It’s a good moment also, to thank God, and pray that he will pour forth his blessing on his modest but gifted servant, Justin Welby that he may in the grace of God lead this Church of England out of its present moribund state to have a significant impact for Christ and the gospel on all the communities of our nation.
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