THE Archbishop of Canterbury paid a flying visit to the United States last week, addressing conservative and progressive Episcopalians.
Archbishop Welby attended a conference organised by Communion Partners, a group of conservative bishops who have pledged to remain in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, despite differences with the Churches’ leaders over sexuality. The Archbishop was accompanied at the conference, by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Michael Curry.
Archbishop Welby preached at evensong during the conference, on Thursday of last week. He said that Christians should be “the true radicals, the extremists of love, the subversive underminers of inertia, those that turn the whole world upside down”, Archbishop Welby said.
Priests “do not just shine a light into the darkness”, but also “confront the darkness at every point”. Christians were called to be “children of light” in a “world of puzzlement and confusion”. The nature of ordained ministry was “to seek to ensure that the Church shines a light that illuminates — and yet to find oneself doing that in a confusing world, where options and choices often have the appearance of equal validity”.
During his visit to Texas last weekend, Archbishop Welby also visited the Texas School Book Depository: the site from which Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated the US President John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963.
On Sunday, Archbishop Welby preached at St Paul’s Chapel, Trinity Wall Street, in New York. He spoke of the dangers of sectarianism, and praised the congregation for being “outward looking”.
“If we are in a global Church, to try to prevail in our view and our wisdom, we end up denying the extraordinary cultural diversity and dynamic of God’s creation both of world and Church,” he said.