Justin Welby becomes Archbishop of Canterbury frontrunner

Key points

  • Bishop of Durham Justin Welby is expected to be named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury on Friday
  • The 56-year-old would replace Rowan Williams, who steps down next month after 10 years in the post
  • Bishop Welby is known to oppose gay marriage but supports the ordination of women as bishops

Live text

Reporting:

  • Gerry Holt 
  • Alex Morrison 
  • Chris Clayton 

Last updated 8 November 2012

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Good morning and welcome to our live coverage as the Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, looks set to be named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury. We will bring you all the latest news, reaction and analysis on the story as it happens.

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It looks likely that the 56-year-old bishop will be officially named on Friday as the replacement for Archbishop Rowan Williams, who steps down in December after 10 years in the post.

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The bishop would become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and the nominal leader of 77 million Anglicans worldwide.

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Justin Welby

Bishop Welby became a bishop a year ago when he took up the Church of England's fourth most senior post as the Bishop of Durham.

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The body set up to choose Dr Rowan Williams's successor is the Crown Nominations Commission. The Archbishop of Canterbury's website says it is an "elected, prayerful body". It says its meetings are "necessarily confidential" to enable members to decide who should take on what it describes as a "major national and international role".

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The commission nominates two candidates to the prime minister, who then advises the Queen on the appointment. It held a three-day meeting in September to consider the contenders for the post, saying at the time that there would be no comment on any speculation about candidates or about its deliberations.

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The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu

What followed was a wave of speculation about who might take up the post. Among the runners and riders were the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu (pictured), and Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London.

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Christina Rees, a member of the General Synod, the governing body of the Church of England, tells the BBC News Channel that if the next archbishop is Bishop Welby the Church will have a "visionary and strategic leader" who is known to be "wise and collaborative, and a man known to be prepared to take risks".

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Christina Rees says Bishop Welby is known to be "extremely supportive" of women bishops. On the subject of gay marriage she says: "I understand he is toeing the Church's current line on homosexuality and same-sex marriage." But she adds: "He is a man who is prepared to change his views if it is the right thing to do."

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