The day before he became Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby spoke at an evangelical church in Nottingham. His comments were summarised by the Daily Telegraph thus; ‘The welfare state cannot go on doing the job it has for the past 70 years and the Church should step in to fill the void, according to the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury’.
Though the job he has in hand is widely regarded as impossible, the Archbishop of Canterbury-elect, Justin Welby, has done more than enough already to suggest that he has the capacity to nudge the Church of England through the decidedly choppy waters of change.
Like millions of other people, I'm praying for Justin Welby as he prepares to take up his new job at Canterbury. I wish him all the best. As the media go over every detail of his life and beliefs, there is a danger that we put our trust in a new archbishop to save the Church. This would be a problem whoever had got the job.
For the first time in history, the announcement of who would succeed to the See of Canterbury was seen first on twitter (via the @Number10press office), before the formal Downing Street and Lambeth announcements of the archbishop elect.
If Welby can hold on to his emphasis on enabling ‘ordinary’ Christians, and those of their neighbours who are seeking a more just and compassionate world, he can offer the kind of leadership needed at a time when idols have been falling, says Savi Hensman, a long-standing commentator on Anglican affairs and church and society issues.