Bishop David Wilbourne on Just John: The authorized biography of John Habgood, Archbishop of York, 1983-1995

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15 May 2020

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This week, Ed Thornton talks to the Rt Revd David Wilbourne about his biography of John Habgood, a former Archbishop of York, who died last year, aged 91.

The book is called Just John: The authorized biography of John Habgood, Archbishop of York, 1983-1995 (SPCK), and is available from the Church Times Bookshop for the special price of £16.

In an obituary published in the Church Times, Rupert Shortt describes Habgood as “the outstanding British Anglican leader of his generation, and perhaps the country’s most distinguished churchman tout court”. He has been described by several people as “the best Archbishop of Canterbury we never had”.

In a review of Just John published in the Church Times, Richard Harries writes: David Wilbourne, who was Habgood’s chaplain for four years, and whose writing is well known to readers of the Church Times, has written an informative and attractive life of his former boss, which will be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this turbulent period better. . .

“Wilbourne follows Habgood’s career as a theological teacher, ecumenist, writer, and church leader, underlining his key part, for example, in liturgical revision, and especially on the ordination of women. . .

“Wilbourne has given us a warm picture of an estimable human being and a deeply serious Christian.”

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