Integrity welcomes the announcement today of the next Archbishop of Canterbury: Bishop Justin Welby, currently Bishop of Durham. It is a difficult position – to be the designated “instrument of unity” for a Communion which is increasingly diverse and attempts to draw together peoples and countries with competing needs. Bishop Welby comes well equipped to take on the challenge, having worked in Africa and being familiar with the Church in several different countries.
Welby comes from the evangelical wing of the relatively conservative Church of England, and is said to oppose gay marriage. Caroline Hall, President of Integrity USA, said, “Our prayers will be with Bishop Welby as he takes on this enormous challenge. I hope that he will be able to build on the experience of his predecessor, Archbishop Williams and manage not to cave to the tactics of bullies. The majority of Anglicans want to work together to further the reign of God, and it will be Bishop Welby’s task to provide leadership for this cooperation. In the reign of God there is neither male nor female, black nor white, gay nor straight. I hope that he can help us to make this vision of inclusivity a reality throughout the Anglican Communion.”
When visiting the Episcopal House of Bishops earlier this year, Bishop Welby said, “I pray and hope that we live with confidence and hope, and grow in the ability to live in complexity. That we are able to have diversity without enmity. God has made the churches full of diversity, that is the miracle of unity, praise God for diversity, when lived in love and integrity.” Integrity's hope is that the Bishop will be able so to do.