Members of the worldwide Anglican Communion are gearing up for Thursday's inauguration of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Canterbury Cathedral.
As staff at the great cathedral get ready for this key moment in Anglican history, lay and ordained people from right around the world are also preparing for the big day.
Over the past week the Communion's primates—the most senior bishops from across the Anglican Communion—have travelled to England for the inauguration. Many have made the most of their visit by attending meetings while in the UK. Primate of West Africa, the Most Revd Tilewa S Johnson, visited the mission agency Us (formerly USPG). He also recorded a piece on the Church of England's new primate for BBC's Radio 4 Sunday programme. Among other visits the Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East headed to a housing project in Lancashire.
The Anglican Church of Australia will have three representatives at the enthronement including Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, who today described Archbishop Welby as "a leader for our time, a man of prayer who chose God over personal fortune." Archbishop Aspinall will be accompanied by the Revd John Deane, Executive Director of Australia's Anglican Board of Mission and the Revd Dr Sarah Macneil who is a member of the Standing Committee.
All the Standing Committee members will attend the inauguration. Chairman of the Standing Committee and the Anglican Consultative Council, and Bishop of Southern Malawi, the Rt Revd James Tengatenga told ACNS, "Tomorrow is an important moment for our Anglican Communion because it marks the beginning of Archbishop Welby's leadership of our global family."
The Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (The Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil) has said that its members, along with ecumenical partners, are praying for the Archbishop of Canterbury's big day. A statement issued by The National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil said: "We are praying for [his] ministry to be fruitful and to continue the traditional commitment of the Anglican Church in deepening the dialogue and unity amongst Christians and for the common service in favour of justice, peace, and the integrity of creation".
Representatives of the Anglican Communion at the Pope's inaugural mass on Tuesday will be travelling back from Rome to Canterbury today. These include the bishops of the Church of England's Diocese in Europe, the Rt Revd Dr Geoffrey Rowell and the Rt Revd David Hamid; and Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon.
The Anglican Communion's communicators are also preparing to share the good news of the enthronement with members of their provinces. Aldrin Peloko of the Anglican Church of Melanesia said he is reporting on the enthronement for his provincial magazine and website. The Episcopal Church's news service ENS will have staff at the cathedral to cover the event for its members in countries where the Church is present. The Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, whose primate is blessing Archbishop Welby during Thursday's service, is keeping its Facebook followers up to date on the latest news about the enthronement.
Jan Butter is Director for Communications at the Anglican Communion Office and editor of the Anglican Communion's official news service, ACNS. He said, "Anglicans the world over are looking forward to this special day, and thanks to digital technology more people than ever before will be able to enjoy it".
The BBC has announced that it is airing the inauguration on BBC Two television between 2.30pm – 4.30pm GMT and BBC Radio 4 (LW) between 2.55pm - 4.00pm GMT. A spokesperson told ACNS that, for those outside the UK, the service would also be streamed live on www.bbc.com with highlights of the service featured on BBC World News 24.
Source: Anglican Communion News Service