New spiritual leader for 80 million Anglicans in more than 160 countries

  • Two new global Christian leaders installed two days apart
  • Australia’s Primate Phillip Aspinall to attend
  • Planting a piece of Australia in Canterbury
  • High praise for predecessor
A former oil executive once rejected for ordination by a bishop because “there is no place for you in the Church of England”(1) was inaugurated as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury on 21 March.

The centuries’ old “enthronement” ceremony of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was held at Canterbury Cathedral, one of England’s oldest and most famous Christian buildings.

Australia’s Anglican Primate, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, attended the enthronement ceremony and joined Primates from around the world for small group meetings with Canterbury’s new Archbishop.

“This is an historic moment, for Anglicans and for Christians everywhere, who this week celebrate two new, strong, courageous leaders,” Archbishop Aspinall said.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury strikes me as a leader for our time, a man of prayer who chose God over personal fortune, who has faced deep personal grief and loss, and who repeatedly faced death while acting as a conflict negotiator in Africa and the Middle East.”

A recent biography of Archbishop Welby said: “He twice telephoned his wife Caroline from Nigeria to tell her that he thought he had miscalculated the risks and could be dead within minutes, asking her to pray for him.”(2)

“Archbishop Justin strikes me as being a person of humility and simplicity,” Archbishop Aspinall said. “He’s a reconciler. He’s a man of prayer. He’s engaging and warm, with a good sense of humour.”

Archbishop Aspinall was glowing in his praise of the retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, describing him as “a man of deep personal integrity and prayer, a great scholar and a great gift to the Church”.

The Australian Church was also represented by the Revd Sarah Macneil and the Revd John Deane. Dr Macneil, from Canberra and Goulburn diocese, serves on the Anglican Consultative Council Standing Committee and made history in 2009 by becoming the first woman Dean of an Australian capital city cathedral. Mr Deane heads the Australian Church's mission agency, which works within Indigenous communities nationally, and across Asia, the Middle East and PNG.

A rare native Australian tree, the Wollemi Pine, was to be given to the new Archbishop of Canterbury by Archbishop Aspinall. “The Wollemi Pine has survived for 200 million years and outlasted the dinosaurs – we’re just hoping it can survive the English weather,” Archbishop Aspinall joked.

Notes for Editors:

3 Source Nov 2012

Justin Welby (b. 06 Jan 1956) was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. After a career in the oil industry in Paris and London, he trained for the ministry at Cranmer Hall and St John’s College Durham. He served his title at Chilvers Coton with Astley, Coventry diocese from 1992 to 1995. From 1995 to 2002, he was Rector of Southam and also Vicar of Ufton, Coventry diocese from 1998 to 2002. From 2002 to 2007, he was Canon Residentiary at Coventry Cathedral; and was Co-Director for International Ministry from 2002 to 2005. From 2005 to 2007, he was Sub-Dean at Coventry Cathedral and also Canon for Reconciliation Ministry and in 2007 was also Priest-in-Charge at Coventry Holy Trinity. From 2007 to 2011, he was Dean of Liverpool. He became Bishop of Durham in 2011. From 2000 to 2002, he chaired an National Health Service Hospital Trust in Britain. He currently also serves on the Committee of Reference for the ethical funds of a large investment company in the City of London. He is also a member of the Banking Standards Commission. Justin Welby is married to Caroline and they have had six children (one of whom died in infancy).

Media contact:
Steven Henderson
Archbishop’s Media Officer
Anglican Diocese of Brisbane 
M: 0402 276 083

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