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. Today his Election has been Confirmed as Archbishop of Canterbury – it is official. May God bless you Justin!
Above all at the start of Justin's new ministry I hope that we shall all be open to the constant outpouring of the Holy Spirit, renewing us in faith, in hope, and in love. Anyone becoming an Archbishop is conscious both of the heritage of faithful witness in which we stand, and of today's challenges and opportunities to make Christ known afresh in this generation. It is a privilege and responsibility we all share as followers of Christ in this land, as we are charged, along with Archbishop Justin, with the message of the all-embracing love of God in Jesus Christ, who rose gloriously from death to life on the first Easter day. It is to this ministry that Bishop Justin has been called.
Like any Bishop in the Church of England the Archbishop of Canterbury has a role in looking out for the needs of all sections of the community, whatever their religious tradition or belief, with special attention to the most vulnerable members of our society. The Archbishop does not carry this great responsibility alone, but in his public role he rightly represents the many hours of commitment and service put in by volunteers up and down the country who strive together in their local communities for the common good.
From his work with the Parliamentary Inquiry into Banking Standards we already know Justin Welby to be both outspoken in the pursuit of justice, and unafraid to grapple with complex issues.
I repeat the invitation to prayer I made some weeks ago when the announcement about Archbishop Justin's appointment was first made. As I said then, prayer is the Church's greatest weapon, without which we are spiritually powerless. I call upon everyone in the Church of England, and in the wider Anglican Communion, especially those in the Global South, to spend time with God on their knees, bringing Bishop Justin, Caroline and their children before Him and asking that he be given wisdom, courage and the grace of Jesus Christ.
My own prayer is that we now all commit ourselves to journeying together as one body in Christ, listening to each other, waiting on Almighty God, and, by His grace, learning to walk together, so as to make more of a difference for the sake of the Gospel. May ours be the vocabulary of trust, kindness, joy, simplicity, love, justice, compassion and faithfulness. May the quality of our relationships shine through all that we do here. And may the presence of God here be a reality which is visible everywhere.
And Justin, my brother in Christ, I will pray for you and stand alongside you in this ministry. May the Lord richly bless you.