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Category - "Archbishop Justin":

To Their Credit – How Churches Are Helping The UK’s Poorest: by Nicole Holgate


 First, A Brief History of the Church Housing Trust

Prebendary Wilson Carlile founded the Church Army in 1882 and Church Army Housing in 1924, thereby starting a great tradition which continues to this day through the combined forces of Church Housing Trust and Riverside ECHG (formerly English Churches Housing Group).

The Church Army soon became the largest lay society in the Church of England and Wilson Carlile himself was centrally involved in its social work for the homeless, often spending nights on the Thames Embankment in winter in order to care for those sleeping rough. Because of this work, many found the courage to try life in a hostel from where they could move on to better lives.

Church Army Housing transferred its hostels to Church Housing Association in 1977 and in 1984 Church Housing Trust was founded to raise charitable funds to support the hostels and the trust became a registered charity in 1991. In the same year Church Housing Association merged with Baptist Housing Association and United Reformed Church Housing Association to become English Churches Housing Group, and Church Housing Trust remained an independent charity raising funds for their work with the homeless. More recently ECHG became part of the Riverside Group and continues to be one of the leading providers of supported housing for homeless people.

Mission Statement

Church Housing Trust takes positive action to provide better facilities, opportunities and futures for homeless people whilst promoting a wider national understanding of the difficulties faced by those in housing need. It raises funds nationally for the establishment, equipping, organising, furnishing and maintenance of housing, hostel and other accommodation. Church Housing Trust reaches the elderly, students, single people, families and the physically and mentally ill who are unable by reason of poverty, sickness, age or youth to make adequate provision for themselves.

Nicole Holgate:”To Their Credit – How Churches Are Helping The UK’s Poorest”

The Church’s commitment to helping the most vulnerable members of society has never been more evident than over the past few years, as the need for food banks, the use of payday loans, and the increase of homelessness and rough sleeping have seen council and government-funded services stretched to their limits.


Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has become a fierce advocate for the creation of a fairer financial system, encouraging churches and individual Christians to add their voices or actions. This came after the news that one million UK households took out payday and doorstep loans with APRs of up to 6,000% every month because they had no access to bank loans.


Archbishop Welby’s criticism of Wonga and other payday lenders helped fuel a campaign to rein in the sector. Now that the Financial Conduct Authority has imposed limits on payday loans, the archbishop has turned his attention to mainstream banks and their role in society. Most recently, accusing the financial services industry of ignoring poor communities, he called on banks to put people before profit.


He added that banks should make sure all sections of society have access to bank accounts and free cash machines which, following the clampdown on payday lending, would give lower-income families much-needed access to financial services .  Between 1989 and 2012, 7,500 banks and building society branches were closed , two-thirds of these in deprived areas.


The Church of England now runs the  website ‘To your credit’, which advises individuals and churches how to get the most out of their banking, including the management of debts and ongoing bill costs. The Church Urban Fund has also launched a series of ‘poverty briefings’ to ensure that each diocese has the information available to form a tailored action plan to help those in the most financial trouble.


Last summer, inspired by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments on responsible lending, songwriter and music producer Charles Bailey approached the Church of England with the idea for a rap. The song, called ‘We need a union on the streets’ , tells the stories of young people who get into debt because of payday loans with high interest rates and aims to highlight credit unions as a better way to borrow.

While benefit cuts and stalled wages continue to have an adverse effect on those on the bottom rung of society, the Church has come forward as a spokesman on their behalf.  This puts the Church in the firing line of Members of Parliament and the media, who have all been quick to react, not always positively, and this seems likely to increase rather than decrease in the near future. However, some good ground has also been made, even if it may take a while before the wider community finally gets the point.


Nicole Holgate, Communications Officer


Church Housing Trust


Re-blogged from ‘Past Christian’ by Dr Wendy Dackson

Dr Wendy Dackson now has her own blog. Although I hope she will continue to write for us as well, sometimes her pearls of wisdom are too lustrous not to share!

Good Disagreement: ++Justin’s Speech on

the 21st Century Church (Part 1)

Yesterday on Facebook, Lay Anglicana shared the Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech at Britain’s National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. I’m sure that there will be a lot of commentary on the finer points of global Christianity from people with much more official authority than I have.  But a few things stood out for me, and I want to write a bit on them.

The first (not in order of where it falls in ++Justin’s speech, but in what captured my  attention) is the idea of good disagreement. The Archbishop used the phrase in the context of how the Anglican Communion holds together, and his words were as follows:

We deal in thousands of cultures. The struggle, the achievement, of holding together in good disagreement sets a pattern in which truth is not a club with which to strike others, but a light freely offered for a path of joy and flourishing.

Good disagreement.I have a bunch of former students, distributed across a number of institutions and two countries, who must be breaking out in rashes at that phrase. Because disagreement between Christians is never good, is it?  Some of the problems with the idea of disagreement were in the context of a group discussion where the complaint was “we could not come to agreement”.  Others were complaints about a grade that was “unfair” just because the student and I did not “agree” on certain aspects of religion.  (No, that wasn’t the problem.  More often than not, a failure to meet the standards set out in writing for the assignment was why your mark was disappointing.) The most egregious was a student presenting me with the official form to drop my class because s/he “could not agree with (me), and therefore couldn’t learn from (me).”

There is a silly idea about–not just among Christians, but in secular society as well–that anyone we disagree with is somehow not as good a person as we are.  We have nothing to learn from those who do not confirm our most dearly held preconceived notions.  If someone does not think as I do, s/he must somehow be my enemy, or at the very least, removed from the social and spiritual world in which I move.

And so I was very glad to see ++Justin Welby use the phrase good disagreement. It is a beautiful pairing of words, of which I think Jesus would heartily approve. Because, good disagreement was exactly the method Jesus and his coreligionists used to discuss their sacred writings.  It’s called midrash, and Ken Howard’s blog Paradoxical Thoughts brings the method to bear on contemporary western Christianity.  I get the method in broad strokes, Ken is much more nuanced than I am, and I heartily suggest following his blog to get an idea of how it might be used for the life of the church in the 21st century.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was the very first way I observed people studying Holy Scripture.  I was maybe seven or eight, and we were visiting a cousin of my mother’s, a rabbi with five sons who were all a few years older than me.  One of them was preparing for Bar Mitzvah, and my “uncle” (that’s what we called him) was discussing the passage of the Torah which he would be called to read and interpret.  My uncle, with much more obvious expertise, did not demand that his son memorize or agree with his interpretation, but kept introducing other, seemingly contradictory ways of viewing the passage.  The boy on the cusp of religious adulthood was to look at all of these, decide on an interpretation most convincing to him and why (often blending the ideas of several commentators, and holding in tension views that seemed on the surface to be in opposition to each other), but was never encouraged or instructed to dismiss other interpretations. Settling one’s opinion, when further evidence or insight might be brought to light at a later time by other people, was not the goal.  The goal was to include as wide a range of viewpoints as possible.  Only by looking at a passage of scripture this way, bringing to bear as many opinions as possible–even those that seemed irreconcilable–held the possibility of moving toward a truthful interpretation.

This is a pretty sophisticated mental exercise for a 13 year old, but it happens somewhere in the world on probably most Saturdays throughout the year.  It saddens me that Christians who have lived several times that number of years are not only often unable to perform it, but refuse to even attempt it or to see the value of doing so.

Part of the value is the move toward a bigger version of ‘truth’ than any one person (or group) can possess.  Another part of the value is that all viewpoints are discussed seriously, taking account of both their merits and their deficiencies, and good reason is given before an interpretation is adopted or dismissed.  Minority views can be upheld, and there is much less danger of a tyranny of numbers.

Good disagreement must be nurtured in both church and society.  We still have a responsibility to set limits, condemn evil, expose corruption when we see it.  There will always be lines which cannot be crossed (although what those lines are will be a topic for discussion).  But within a more generously bounded area than we often find acceptable, there is room for healthy, life-giving difference of opinion.

The old saying is that when two people hold exactly the same opinion, one of them isn’t necessary.  Human endeavor relies on bringing differences together, not keeping things separate.  A beautiful painting contains a variety of , brush strokes, curves and lines.  A mosaic is only interesting if there are tiles of varying materials to give it color and texture.  A garden needs more than one kind of plant if it is to be pleasing to the eye or useful for food or medicine.  A symphony needs a range of instruments playing different notes or remaining silent over the course of the music, creating harmony (and sometimes dissonance) to reach a satisfying conclusion.

Christians should not demand absolute agreement as the gold standard of life together–whether globally, as in the context of ++Justin’s speech, or within a weekday morning coffee-and-Bible Study group.   Good disagreement–taking into account the merits of opinions we have never heard, or may not like, but recognizing them as potentially leading us to greater beauty, truth, and goodness–should be the aim of our life together under the gaze of God.

I also recommend the second part of Wendy’s reactions to this speech:

Another theme, one that he spent more on, is suffering. He speaks of the suffering of the Church in parts of the world where there is systemic violence, and where Christianity is indeed a persecuted religion. He tells of a visit to Pakistan where he has seen the Church suffer and grow… :

And the third reflection:

. . . the sight of a Church tower, wherever it is met with, is an assurance that every thing has not been bought up for private convenience or enjoyment;–that there is some provision made for public purposes, and for the welfare of the poorest and most destitute human being who lives within the hearing of its bells. (Thomas Arnold, Principles of Church Reform, p. 94)

Of course, ++Justin did not quote Thomas Arnold in his speech at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, which has given me cause to think and write today. But he may as well have done. Except now, it is not just England, or foreign missions of the Church of England, to which Arnold’s words apply. Since 1833, when Principles of Church Reform was written, the Anglican Communion has evolved from colonial outposts and a few churches (such as the Episcopal Church) not governed by the Church of England, to a global affiliation of interdependent provinces, each with their own systems of canon law, but held together, if only tenuously at times, by the Instruments of Communion…

The ABC And The ABC Of The Anglican Communion

Rockefeller Centre NYC Atlas

Rockefeller Centre NYC Atlas

The Vortex

 Anyone who saw the Archbishop of Canterbury carry a wooden cross through the streets of Dover on Good Friday can be in little doubt that he feels genuine anguish at the agony the Anglican Communion perceives itself to be in, apparently incapable of resolution. On the one hand are the GAFCON countries, as convinced of the moral rectitude of their own position as any Pharisee; on the other are the rest of us, who find Galatians a better guide to Christianity than Leviticus.

On 4 April, somewhat unfortunately juxtaposed with his visit to The Episcopal Church, Archbishop Justin took part in a phone-in on LBC:

A subsequent report in the Daily Telegraph said:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested he is powerless to provide blessings for gay marriages because to do so would split the global Anglican Church.  In an interview with The Telegraph, the Most Rev Justin Welby says that the Church had probably caused “great harm” to homosexuals in the past — but there was not always a “huge amount” that could be done now to rectify the situation. Although indicating that he was sympathetic to calls for the Church to publicly honour gay relationships, the Archbishop says that it is “impossible” for some followers in Africa to support homosexuality. In the interview, the leader of the Anglican Church, which has 77 million followers globally, speaks movingly of the persecution faced by Christians in parts of the world. He indicates that the Church must not take a step that would cut off these groups, most of them in the third world, however much this angers parts of society in Britain…“I do believe passionately that unity is something we have to maintain,” the Archbishop said privately soon afterwards. “I may be wrong, but I also believe that to take a step that means that people who desperately need our help — and who we can help — can’t take it, feel in their own culture that it is impossible to be helped by us, is something that we can’t easily do.”
Interview in the Telegraph, 18 Apr 2014

Possibilities for Reconciliation

Church leaders, when faced with an intractable situation, are given to dumping the whole problem on God, and asking Him to to sort things out. Sometimes, though, one senses that God’s response is to decline to accept, and kindly but firmly return the problem to us. One reason may be that he wants us to come up with a third possibility, to think again. For one thing:

“If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family – anything you like – at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.”
C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Send for a child of five

Imagine that you are faced with a set of impenetrably difficult assembly instructions from IKEA. What do you do? Well, for Groucho Marx the solution was:

A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. 

A child of five might suggest the following:

The Anglican Communion is not a Church, it is a loose association of Christian churches which were set up by the Church of England in British colonies around the world two or three hundred years ago and which have since developed through the work of the Holy Spirit and according to the characteristics of the country in which they were implanted. Rather as the Queen has the courtesy title of ‘Head of the Commonwealth’, the Archbishop of Canterbury of the day is primus inter pares of all Anglican bishops. He is not the ‘head of the Anglican Church’, for there is no such thing.

What’s the problem? Each province is entitled, and has always been entitled, to interpret Christianity in the way that seems right in their own circumstances.

Er, that’s it.

Peaceful co-existence or mutually assured destruction

The Churches of the Anglican Communion are essentially faced with this choice. Either we try and follow Krushchev’s policy introduced in 1956 at the 20th Congress of the CPSU or those of us on the sidelines, powerless to halt our leaders from taking us into the vortex through their intransigence, are in little doubt that the alternative is mutually assured destruction. And all for the want of a child of five.

Send Not To Know For Whom The Bell Tolls


Protestors demonstrate against Nigeria's anti-gay law.‘A far-off country of which we know little’, was the shameful excuse of Chamberlain as to why Britain should not go to war with Germany over the invasion of Czechoslovakia. But we are no longer islands, entire of ourselves (if we ever were) thanks to modern mass communications.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock without access to the internet  for the last week you will know that Nigeria has just passed a law which:

outlaws “gay clubs, societies and organizations, their sustenance, processions and meetings,” or anyone who helps them, imposing jail time of up to 10 years for offenders.

Homosexual acts were already illegal in Nigeria, but the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act… means ...anyone married to someone of the same sex can get up to 14 years. The law was met with condemnation from the United States, Britain and Canada, with US Secretary of State John Kerry saying it “dangerously restricts freedom” of expression and association of all Nigerians. And UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said: “Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights.”

And what crime is it that is being targeted? What canon of jurisprudence is offended?  As A E Housman wrote bitterly (but, as he thought, satirically):

Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair.

'Tis a shame to human nature, such a head of hair as his;
In the good old time 'twas hanging for the colour that it is;
Though hanging isn't bad enough and flaying would be fair
For the nameless and abominable colour of his hair.


In the face of this offence against natural justice, Christians will ask what the Anglican Church in Nigeria has to say. After all, even if you accept that homosexual physicality is a sin (which most of us don’t), Christ was happy to sup with all. The depressing answer is:

Aloysius Agbo, the Anglican Bishop of Nsukka said Tuesday, “Every Christian in Nigeria is happy about the development … especially when he did that contrary to the pressure from the western world.” Being gay is “unnatural, unwise and ungodly,” he said. “If our forefathers have done that [same-sex marriage], many of us would not have been born.” On Monday, the Presbyterian Prelate Emele Mba Uka also praised the new law. “Homosexuality as one of the greatest human deviant behaviours has been with man from earliest times. Man has fought it for a long time but it refuses to die,” he said. Uka equated gay sex with “incest, rape and adultery” and said that such a “perverse sexual lifestyles attract God’s punishment” which is “hell.”


And what has the Anglican Communion to say on the subject, in particular the Archbishops of Canterbury and York? Nothing. Nothing at all. Pin-drop silence.

Now, Nigerian Christians are our brothers and sisters in Christ. So it behoves us to allow for their interpretation of Christianity to differ from ours. BUT the Nigerians apparently do not play by the same rules, they feel perfectly self-righteous in creating a civil law to make it illegal to, as it were, have red hair, and despise those who disagree with this interpretation of the words of Our Lord.

1,101 people have signed a petition asking our Church leaders to give a lead, and make it clear that this legislation does not conform with Christianity. There has been no statement from Cantuar or Ebor. It is possible that we are running into the same problems that Cantuar had over the Anglican Covenant (in which there was a strong undercurrent of anti-LGBTQ attitudes). A liberal, ‘bien-pensant’ Westerner finds it very difficult to take issue with someone who is black: it is a problem of inverted racism.  And in the case of Archbishop Justin, this is doubly hard because he has spent so much time in Nigeria, and his experiences when captured led, in part, to his work in reconciliation. He is in a genuinely difficult position.

But ++Justin has asked members of the Church of England to undertake a concerted programme of ‘conscious evangelism’. Sorry, but I doubt that I am alone in lacking enthusiasm for this task at a time when our Church refuses to stand up for our Christian beliefs.



Savi Hensman has written a clear-headed and incisive piece for Ekklesia about the situation which I urge you to read. She says:

In this context, some overseas religious leaders may fear that anything they say may be twisted to try to show that local defenders of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights are following a western agenda, hence making matters worse. However silence allows untruths to take hold, including the notion that God is on the side of those who hurt and vilify those made in the Divine image.

Truth is of vital importance in the New Testament (e.g. John 8). No human can be confident that he or she knows the whole truth. But sharing what one knows or believes to be true on important matters, and listening to others’ responses in order to adjust or build on this, can help to create a world where destructive forms of untruth are exposed.

Church leaders could perhaps point out that human rights are by no means a purely western concept – indeed the United Nations and international human rights organisations criticise European and North American as well as other governments when they act in cruel and unjust ways. In this interconnected world, not challenging injustice in another country may result in bolstering the power and prestige of those mistreating others. This is not about ‘the West’ standing in judgement but Christians everywhere being ready to come to the aid of the needy and oppressed.

How did Niemoller’s poem go again?

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Photograph courtesy of LGBTQ Nation

Have You Seen The Light?


Now we see through a glass darkly. Yes, but. The Church of England may, just may, be beginning to see the light.

Suppose we think of the Word of God as pure white light. John Donne talked of a heaven where there would be no dazzling, nor darkness, but one equal light. But in this world we are unable to see the light of the Logos in all its clarity but look at everything through a glass, or prism. As we all learnt in physics, this means that what we are seeing is refracted light, literally distorted, broken down into its component colours. It is further ‘distorted’ by idiosyncracies in our own lenses.

Although we are warned not to create God in our own image, we can only see and understand God according to our own perspective – no amount of will can change that. Almost all of us read the Bible in translation into our vernacular, which further ‘refracts’ the original. Even scholars who understand Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac do so from a 21st century perspective, and their understanding of the language of the Early Christians at this distance in time must only be partial.

With my prismatic rainbow analogy, some will see the Word of God as red, some as blue and some as yellow. You may think there are seven colours in the rainbow. But to Pantone,  there are more than 3,000 colours in our world. This was implicitly acknowledged in the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral but recently in the Anglican Communion the redd-ites have been thumping the table, hoping to persuade the green-ites to abandon their interpretation of the Word in favour of the ‘one true meaning’. And, of course, vice versa.

The Church has been drawn into endless pitched battles, incapable of resolution since everyone can see their own points of view so clearly. The Anglican Covenant was but one example of the Church being diverted from its true task into pointless attempts to make the reddites and the greenites see the same truth.

Archbishop Justin has made no such mistake. From the moment he talked to Giles Fraser about squaring the circle by means of perception, many of us hoped that he would be chosen as the next Cantuar, and  our prayers have been answered. Of course it is an impossible task, but the Revd David Keen is not alone in sensing a change in the air.

Yes, we want women admitted to the episcopate as soon as possible. Some of us also hope for fairer and more loving treatment of the LGBT community. And after those two, others of us would like greater inclusion of (and less condescension to) the laity. But that must wait. To those who say that we cannot ask more people to join us in the Church until we have created a more worthy church (by women bishops etc), I have come to the conclusion, after several years of watching the internal wrangling at close quarters, that we will never get there by simply doing more of the same until the mills of God gradually grind us all down.

The only hope is for us to follow Archbishop Justin’s lead and concentrate on the pure white light that we know is behind the prism. And the good news that we are now being asked to share is knowledge of that white light, not the 3,000 colours and viewpoints it can be broken down into.


Archbishop Justin Welby-The Road to Canterbury: Andrew Atherstone

ABCJ 001

Women Bishops

Welby found himself called upon [as Bishop of Durham] to bring reconciliation between hostile factions over the consecration of women as bishops. After years of acrimonious debate and numerous official reports, this development seemed increasingly certain.

As a result, some traditionalists within Durham diocese felt unable to remain within the Anglican family. Most of the congregation at St James the Great in Darlington decided to join the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, established by Pope Benedict XVI to welcome former Anglicans into full communion with Rome while retaining some of their Anglican heritage. The first wave of departures, during Holy Week 2011, saw 10,000 lay people and 60 clergy from across England enter the Ordinariate. The Darlington group were part of the second wave at Lent 2012, led by their parish priest, Ian Grieves, who felt pushed out of Anglicanism by ‘this politically correct Church and liberal agenda which grinds on and on.’  Welby was ‘deeply sad’ at the congregation’s decision but was determined that this parting of friends would be without acrimony. He had known Grieves for 20 years since undertaking a training placement at St James while a student at Cranmer Hall, one of his early encounters with the catholic tradition, and praised his former supervisor as a ‘quite exceptional priest…a teacher of great gifts.’ In a poignant public act of friendship, Welby preached at the congregation’s final mass in February 2012, on the eve of their departure, announcing that ‘This is not a time for apologies. It is a time for repentance…Our repentance is for being part of a church which is in such a state. What do we do now? Bless, not curse.’

Welby’s personal commitment to the consecration of women bishops was not in doubt. In a pastoral letter to his diocese in July 2012 he made it clear that he held these views

as a result of careful studies of the scriptures, and examination of the tradition and ways in which the Church globally has grown into new forms of ministry over the two thousand years of its existence. They are not views gained simply from a pragmatic following of society around us, but are ones held in all conscience and with deep commitment.

At the same time he was ‘passionately committed’ to a theological understanding of the church as a redeemed fellowship, not a self-selecting group.

To put it in crude terms, because God has brought us together we are stuck with each other and we had better learn to do it the way God wants us to. That means in practice that we need to learn diversity without enmity, to love not only those with whom we agree but especially those with whom we do not agree.

Therefore he strongly supported the need for those in conscience theologically opposed to the ordination of women to be ensured a ‘proper place’ in the Church of England, though he acknowledged that it was ‘a difficult square to make into a circle’. In conversation with Giles Fraser, he spoke of ‘a circle with sharp bits on it’. The bishop told his diocesan synod that he personally would ‘spare no effort’ in seeking to find a way for the Church of England to demonstrate, not only in words, that it valued everyone. Behind the scenes he worked actively to bring together the most vocal participants in the debate by creating a safe space for ‘mutual listening’. The aim was ‘reconciliation’ which meant not unanimity or even broad agreement, ‘but the transformation of destructive conflict into constructive conflict’…

(p141) He urged support for the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure , as finally proposed, believing it to be ‘as good as we can get’. But he lamented the manner in which Anglicans had debated the issue with a ‘fire-fight of words, articles, letters and emails’, drawing parallels with the sectarian violence he had often witnessed in Africa and the Middle East. Followers of Christ, he proclaimed, should behave differently, as ‘reconciled reconcilers’ and a witness to the world. Returning to one of his favourite mottoes, Welby exhorted the Church of England to prove its commitment to ‘diversity in amity, not diversity in enmity’:

The Church is, above all, those who are drawn into being a new people by the work of Christ and the gift of the Spirit. We are reconciled to God and to one another, not by our choice but by his. That is at the heart of our testimony to the gospel.

…This Anglican inclusivity was ‘a foundation stone for our mission in this country and the world more widely.

We cannot get trapped into believing that this is a zero-sum decision, where one person’s gain must be another’s loss. That is not a theology of grace.

Instead of going to war against one another over such issues, the bishop urged that Christians must

carry peace and grace as a treasure for the world. We must be those who live a better way; who carry that treasure visibly and distribute it lavishly.

This book is not the last word on the present Archbishop of Canterbury, nor does it purport to be. It is, however, an excellent preliminary biography written without knowing how the last chapters will be written. Much of the material has already appeared in the press, but Andrew Atherstone has collated well the information available publicly and he has also mined the parish magazines of Southam, where Justin Welby was parish priest. I value particularly the insight that these give into the essence of Archbishop Justin.

I thoroughly recommend this overview of a man who will play a decisive, perhaps historic, role in our beloved Church at a turning point in its history.
(I do feel somewhat like Spike Milligan – wot, no mention of my part in ++Justin’s meteoric rise? ;>) I can certainly claim to be the one to have discovered the link between him and the present Welby baronet, the nephew of Justin’s maternal great-uncle’s wife, and I think I was the first to publish on his Weiler antecedents, just beating the Telegraph to it in the Jewish Chronicle. Ah well, sic transit and all that…)

This extract begins on page 138.

Archbishop Justin Welby

The Road to Canterbury

Andrew Atherstone

published by Darton, Longman and Todd

978 0 232 52994 4
Paperback |160 pp |178 x 110 mm


Rowan Williams retired as Archbishop of Canterbury on 31 December 2012, and the Crown Nominations Commission elected the Rt Revd Justin Welby as his successor, enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral in March 2013.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has an international profile and influence. In this short, lively and informative book, Andrew Atherstone, explores Welby’s life from his formative years, education, and eleven year career in the oil industry to his ministry, as well as his theology and world view, beginning with a concise examination of his writings and how they inform his thinking.

Andrew Atherstone is tutor in History and Doctrine, and Latimer research fellow, at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and has published Andrew4widely on a number of Anglican personalities such as Charles Golightly (Oxford’s Protestant Spy, Paternoster, 2007), and George Carey.

Archbishop Justin in Guatemala – first report by Leonardo Ricardo

Aug 12, 2013

PART TWO — GUATEMALA – JUSTIN WELBY, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY: ¨Scripture, Reason and Tradition or we will destroy the Church¨

¨We work with what we have at hand¨  
The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury said the following things yesterday at the Cathedral of Santiago in Guatemala City, Central America  (at least this is what I understood him to say during his sermon which was given in English and perfectly translated into Spanish – Leonardo/Len):

*  We must physically take action to love our enemies.  We must reach out to our enemies and interact with them.  We must ¨buy their bread¨ which will start a relationship so we can talk to one another to build a normal/everyday-like relationship.  (He used an example of two different groups in Africa who had been murdering each other for years and the priests were biter and tired full of anger/hate).  We must open the doors of resentments (justified resentments or not) and let them fade away.  We must offer kindness and love even in the face of desperation and terror….

Please follow this link to read the rest of the post.

“Archbishop Justin Gives An Impromptu Homily At Lambeth Palace “

Lambeth Palace say:

“Published on Apr 26, 2013

In the first of a new series showing daily life, work and worship at Lambeth Palace, watch Archbishop Justin giving an impromptu homily at the monthly Community Eucharist.”

I apologise for the delay in spotting this, and you may well have seen it already. On the other hand, if I didn’t see it before, maybe you haven’t either. I find it interesting because of its very informality, as if  Archbishop Justin is making it up as he goes along…. 🙂

Church Of England Hashtag Revolution For Easter


The Church of England is embracing the social media revolution with zeal, nay fervour. Hooray! Not perhaps in the vanguard of the revolution, but just in time for it not to be said that the Church has missed it altogether.

The Church’s Communications office recently gathered together a group of Christian tweeters and bloggers, in itself a small step you might think, but it represents a giant leap forward. (Lay Anglicana was pleasantly surprised to be included in the gathering!).

It may, or may not, be a coincidence that this followed immediately on the assumption of office of a new Archbishop of Canterbury. Post hoc is not always propter hoc. But sometimes it is.

One of the results of this meeting was an agreed hashtag campaign for Easter: #EverythingChanges.

This is the press release from the Communications office:


“Good News in a nutshell, Cosmos in a Hashtag”
#EverythingChanges as Church Twitter campaign reaches 5.8 million at Easter

Almost 6 million people were reached by the Church of England’s (@c_of_e) Easter 2013 twitter campaign according to figures released today. Official figures from Twitter showed a cumulative reach of 5.8m users from the 8,527 tweets sent over the Easter period, from Good Friday to Easter Day, using the hashtag #EverythingChanges.

Devised by the Church of England’s Communications office with a group of Christian tweeters and bloggers, the aim of the campaign sought to highlight the Christian meaning of Easter on the social media network. Tweets were sent from across the country with a marked tone of solemnity and sorrow in tweets on Good Friday and peaking on Easter Day with tweets celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Vicky Beeching (@vickybeeching) – Research Fellow in Internet ethics at the University of Durham said: “The #everythingchanges hashtag was another great example of the Church engaging proactively with the digital sphere. To get a new ‘digital generation’ to feel welcome in Church and to hear the Christian message, using social media is crucial. Social media is a medium where all of life is lived; meaningful messages can be communicated and the Church is boldly embracing the digital world in these campaigns.”

The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt. Revd Paul Butler (@BishopPaulB) – one of a number of Bishops who took part in the campaign – said: “#everythingchanges caught the imagination of people across the county. Since we seek to share the joy of the risen Jesus that’s good news.” The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt. Revd. Dr John Inge (@BishopWorcester) added: “I’m delighted to have been able to be one of those tweeting the wonderful good news which we celebrate in the resurrection – that love wins.”

Tweets were sent from across the country from both those in the pews and those in pulpits. Trainee Vicar Liz Clutterbuck (@LizClutterbuck) said: “The #EverythingChanges hashtag encapsulated the true meaning of the Easter season and it was hugely encouraging to watch it spread across Twitter from Good Friday onwards. Young and old embraced it and used it to demonstrate to their followers of all faiths and non what the resurrection means for all.” The Revd Peter Ould (@PeterOuld) added: “#everythingchanges demonstrated the way social media can, not just help bring faith communities together, but also enable them to reach out beyond their boundaries in innovative and modern ways. In an increasingly technologically grounded generation this is the way forward for the Church of England to communicate.”

The Bishop of Hertford, the Rt. Revd Paul Bayes (@paulbayes) who also tweeted, said : “You can share good news in any medium. Twitter is no exception. It’s great that we could share the best news of all – the resurrection of Jesus Christ – in 140 characters or less, at Eastertime this year. Because of Easter #everythingchanges, for the better, forever.” The Rt. Revd Dr. Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne (@BishopSherborne) said: “#everythingchanges focuses the vast scope of the cross and resurrection. It is more than Jesus being killed and raised, or my whole life being changed. It is as big as the whole universe beginning to be transformed. Good news in a nutshell. Cosmos in a hashtag.”

NEWS from the Church of England
PR 77.13
17/4/2013 (embargoed until 22 April)

The illustration is copyright: bloomua via Shutterstock

Archbishop Justin On ‘The Big Society’

This interview was published by the Daily Telegraph on 21 March 2013, but there has been so much happening this week that I have only just seen it.

I tend to agree with Archbishop Justin and think this sounds like a constructive approach and potential collaboration between Church and State. What do you think?

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