Archbishop of Canterbury to take three-month sabbatical

Archbishop Justin Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury is take a three-month sabbatical early next year.

Its Justin Welby's first since becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013. 

His sabbatical will run from May until early August next year but he will not return to work until early September after taking further leave. 

Lambeth Palace said he plans to spend the majority of his time in Cambridge and the US studying the subject of reconciliation. 

His office said he would remain in touch with colleagues during his time away, with the Archbishop of York and Bishop of London taking on some additional duties in support of his absence.

On Twitter, Welby encouraged all clergy in the Church of England to apply for sabbatical every seven to 10 years. 

He said that taking sabbatical was biblical and a reminder to clergy that "no minister is indispensable to the work of God". 

"The Bible has lots to say about work and rest," he wrote.

"I'll be taking a sabbatical and study leave from May to early August next year. All CofE clergy can (and should!) apply for this every 7-10 years."