Reaction as Justin Welby becomes Archbishop of Canterbury

The Rt Rev Justin Welby, the current Bishop of Durham, has been officially confirmed as the next Archbishop of Canterbury and will be enthroned in March. There has been reaction from a number of senior Church leaders and other notable figures.

The Archbishop of York, the Rt Rev John Sentamu

Rt Rev John Sentamu

"The tipsters and lobbyists' predictions can now return to silence. The appointment of an archbishop is neither akin to a horse race nor a presidential campaign, and it is a relief that the rumour-mill, which has been grinding out misinformation, has now ground to a halt.

Bishop Justin Welby has many gifts and unique experience to bring to this daunting office. More importantly he, like Archbishop Rowan, is a man of God. I have been praying for him, will go on doing so with renewed vigour, and will continue to work with him as a brother and friend in Christ. He can count on the same brotherly affection and co-operation that I have given Archbishop Rowan.

This country and our world need a missionary to share with them the all-encompassing message of the love of God in Jesus Christ, who rose gloriously from an ignominious death. That is the great role to which Bishop Justin has been called."

The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols (Leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales)

Most Rev Vincent Nichols

"I know that Bishop Welby will bring many personal gifts and experience to his new role. As the future Primate of the Church of England, I am sure that his ministry, like that of his predecessor Archbishop Rowan Williams, will provide an important Christian witness to this country over the coming years.

In fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ's prayer that his followers may all be one, I hope that we will endeavour to strengthen the bonds of Christian friendship and mission already established between the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

I look forward to working closely with Bishop Welby in the service of the common good and in the common witness we can give to all the people in our land."

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks

"I send warm congratulations to the Right Reverend Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, on his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury. I wish him blessings and success as he takes on this important role and look forward to working with him closely, as I have done with his predecessors, to continue strengthening Jewish-Christian relations in Britain.

Archbishop Rowan has served his office, and the Church of England, with great distinction, integrity, courage and grace. It has been an honour to work alongside him over the past decade and I consider it a particular privilege to call him not just a valued colleague in faith, but a true friend."

Prime Minister David Cameron

"The Church of England plays an important role in our society, not just as the established Church, but in the provision of education, help for the deprived and in furthering social justice.

I look forward to working with the archbishop in all of these areas and I wish him success in his new role."

Director of Changing Attitude, the Rev Colin Coward

"He does need to take very seriously the desire of gay and lesbian Christians to have relationships blessed in church and honoured and recognised by the Church and that includes both civil partnerships and, ultimately, equal marriage.

Rev Colin Coward

On the whole the Church is a safe place (for gay and lesbian Christians) but it's just that we are not fully equal alongside everybody else in the Church and it's certainly not a safe place in other parts of the Anglican Communion.

Homophobia is having a disastrous effect in places like Uganda and Nigeria and that is something that Rowan Williams has had to try and confront, not very successfully, and I hope Justin Welby's steeliness demonstrates itself in relations to the Communion and that he has the confidence to say to people that such behaviour against lesbian and gay people really is intolerable.

He is a man of real intelligence. He clearly is very thoughtful about things. He comes from a background in the world of oil and I hope that he will have learnt there that there are some things which are really intolerable, whether you are a Christian or somebody from the secular realm."

The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev Martin Warner

"Bishop Justin has many gifts and a rich experience of life to this calling.

"He faces a daunting task, but the priority he attaches to a spiritual life of prayer, to reflection on the Bible and dependence upon the holy spirit will sustain him, as will the love and support of his family and friends. To that support I add my own and my prayers for his future ministry."

Andrew Carr, Church of England lay reader, Dartford, Kent

"I... feel Justin Welby will inherit the Anglican Communion in an unhappy state, some of which is self-inflicted.

There should be no issue with women bishops. If God calls people into ministry to serve in this particular way, and he does, then their gender is irrelevant. They have been called to serve, let them do so.

Some of the best teaching I have received both verbally and in writing has been by women and the Church does itself great harm by blocking/ignoring their calling and ministry.

Homosexuality remains an issue made complex by ignorance and prejudice. There are many gay people in the church I'm part of and serve in, and all are welcome.

If we as Christians believe that Jesus loves us, died for our sins on the cross and rose again offering life to all who believe in him, then why do we the Church exclude so many on the basis of orientation?"

The General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, His Grace Bishop Angaelos

"We are well aware of the significant challenges that face Bishop Justin as he takes on this new role, but are also prayerfully confident that, led by the Holy Spirit, the Lord will provide him with wisdom and discernment to faithfully serve the Church of England, the worldwide Anglican Communion, and above all, the Church of God.

Based on the strong fraternal relations between our Churches in the United Kingdom, both as leadership and people, and on my own personal relationship with Lambeth Palace, I look forward to our continued collaborative efforts on matters that unite us and our congregations."

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair

"My Faith Foundation and I would like to express our delight at the appointment of Bishop Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury.

He will bring to the Church of England and the Anglican Communion a rich experience and spirituality alongside a deep commitment to building harmonious interfaith relations.

His knowledge of the Church in Africa, and particularly in Nigeria, will make a profound contribution to the life of the Anglican Communion in the years to come.

We wish him well in the difficult task of leading the Anglican Church, healing divisions between people of faith, and continuing in the tradition of his predecessor of spiritual leadership in Britain."

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