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Welby becomes Archbishop during service in St Paul’s

08 February 2013


First wave: the new Archbishop of Canterbury faces the press after the confirmation of his election in St Paul's Cathedral on Monday

First wave: the new Archbishop of Canterbury faces the press after the confirmation of his election in St Paul's Cathedral on Monday

THE office of Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan, was conferred on the Most Revd Justin Welby on Monday, during a ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral.

He is now Archbishop, although his public ministry will not begin until after his enthronement in Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March. Last month, Archbishop Welby was elected the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury by the 35-strong College of Canons of Canterbury Cathedral ( News, 18 January).

The Confirmation of Election in St Paul's was "something like evensong meets Iolanthe", the Dean of St Paul's, the Very Revd Dr David Ison, said.

Before the ceremony started, Archbishop Welby could be seen greeting members of his family - he has five children and a grandchild - and well-wishers from former churches at which he had served.

The ceremony was presided over by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, assisted by the Bishops of London, Winchester, Salisbury, Worcester, Rochester and Lincoln, who hold historic ceremonial offices in the Province of Canterbury. The Bishops of Leicester and Norwich were also in attendance.

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 lesson, read by the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, who is Provincial Chancellor. 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 lesson (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 said litany was read 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.

The legal Confirmation of the Election was, however, the centrepiece of the service. The Proctor, appearing on behalf of the College of Canons of Canterbury read the Letters Patent. An Advocate presented the Archbishop-elect to Dr Sentamu and the other bishops, who were lined up behind a table.

After various documents had been presented and signed, the Archbishop-elect swore the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen, and made a formal written Declaration of Assent to his election as Archbishop of Canterbury.

At the end of the service, which lasted about an hour and a quarter, Archbishop Welby undertook his first act as Archbishop: to bless the congregation.

Later, he wrote on Twitter: "St Paul's Cathedral amazing setting, beauty and wild colours: goes with huge challenge for all involved in serving Christ, action and words."

THE Archbishop of Canterbury sought to reassure the City of London on Monday that he was "not throwing stones" at it by sitting on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, writes Ed Thornton.

Last month, Archbishop Welby questioned former executives of the Swiss company UBS, who were giving evidence to the commission about the Libor rate-rigging scandal ( News, 18 January). He said that he had been "stunned" to learn of the corruption at the bank.

Speaking at a lunch at the Mansion House on Monday, after his Confirmation of Election in St Paul's, Archbishop Welby said: "The City of the future should be highly profitable, but from serving the  communities of the UK and overseas. It should grow a culture that takes the best of the past, the intelligence, the drive, the innovation and entrepreneurial skills, and puts those talents to the benefit of the common good."

He spoke in support of the decision by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to "electrify the ring fence" between high-street and investment banks, as recommended by the Banking Standards Commission. "It is not playing politics with banking, but ensuring that this country has the most flexible and effective banking system in the world."

Lord Adonis, a former government minister, offered some advice to Archbishop Welby in an open letter in The Times on Tuesday: "You are likely to fail if you try to lead from the inside, by seeking to build majorities in shadowy, inward-looking bodies like the 'House of Laity', of which most of us had not even heard until it vetoed women bishops. Rather, you need to lead from the outside, appealing to the body of churchgoers, and the wider public that regard themselves as Christian, to support you and fellow reformers in bringing the Church into full communion with the society it is dedicated to serve." 

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