The recent appointment of Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury was an intentional attempt to smooth over the deep fissures that mark the world’s Anglican communion over the issue of homosexuality.
Welby lacks episcopal experience, having only been a bishop for a year, but he makes up for it by his experience as a peacemaker: he worked at Coventry Cathedral’s Centre for Reconciliation, and before that was an oil executive, risking his life settling disputes in Nigeria. The Cambridge-educated bishop has managed to win the trust of African churches (the most conservative quarter of the Anglican communion) and such liberal leaders as Katharine Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. Welby has promised to simultaneously listen to the concerns of the LGTB community while opposing gay marriage.
Welby’s role as a peacemaker will be tested as he stands watch over the Church of England’s decision of whether or not to ordain women as bishops, as well as the issuing of a sexuality document that will touch on same-sex partnerships.
(Source: The Tablet, November 17)