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Welby becomes Archbishop of Canterbury in ceremony at St Paul's

Ed Thornton

by Ed Thornton

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 @ 03:41

THE office of Archbishop of Canterbury was conferred on the Most Revd Justin Welby today, during a ceremony under the dome of St Paul's Cathedral, in London.

The Confirmation of Election was presided over by the Archbishop of York. The Bishops of Norwich, Leicester, Lincoln, Rochester, Winchester, Salisbury, and London were also in attendance.

From this point, he is officially Archbishop, though his public ministry will not begin until after his enthronement in Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March.

During the ceremony, Archbishop Welby took the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen, and made a formal written Declaration of Assent to his election as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Sentamu delivered a short sermon, in which he advised Archbishop Welby to "take to heart the wisdom of Ecclesiastes". This had been the Old Testament reading, given by the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, who is Chancellor of the Diocese of Canterbury. Dr Sentamu said that Ecclesiastes showed that "life is not to be found on . . . the final rung of the corporate ladder. . . It is down here in simple things."

Referring to the New Testament reading (2 Timothy 4.1-8), Dr Sentamu challenged Archbishop Welby "to take to heart the Apostle Paul's challenge to preach the gospel. This proclamation must be relevant, urgent, patient, and intelligent."

The legal formalities of the occasion were interspersed with hymns, including "Alleluya, sing to Jesus" and "O for a thousand tongues to sing". The Litany was delivered with dramatic force by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres. Prayers were led by the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon; the Prolocutor of the Province of Canterbury, the Ven. Christine Hardman; and Margaret Swinson, a General Synod member, acting in her capacity as a Church of England representative on the Anglican Consultative Council. At the end of the service, which lasted for about an hour and a quarter, the congregation stood for a blessing by Archbishop Welby.

Dr Sentamu today published a message of welcome for Archbishop Welby: "Archbishop Justin Welby brings many gifts to bring to the office of Archbishop of Canterbury. He has my prayers and my support as he assumes this challenging role in the service of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion worldwide."

See Friday's Church Times for a full report.

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