A Statement on the Appointment of
Bishop Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Reverend Robert W. Duncan. Archbishop
and Primate The Anglican Church in North America
On behalf of the College of Bishops, clergy and laity of the Anglican Church in North America, I greet Bishop Justin Welby and wish him God’s blessings and every success as he prepares to step into his new ministry as Archbishop of Canterbury. I assure him of our regular prayers as he assumes his new responsibilities in a time of significant challenge, tension and opportunity within our Anglican Communion.
Bishop Welby’s resume reveals a man who is devoted to God’s Word and responsive to the Holy Spirit. The Bishop’s heart for the poor, particularly as priest and bishop in England’s post-industrial North, is a heart with which we can readily identify. His experience and skill with mediation and conflict resolution should serve him well in his new office.
As Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, I look forward to getting to know Bishop Welby and to working with him. It has been very helpful to have the doors of Lambeth Palace open to us under his two immediate predecessors, and I trust that Bishop Welby and I will develop a good and open relationship as I commit to work with him and others for the good, and the good order, of all who call themselves Anglican.
With my colleagues of the GAFCON Primates Council and with all who are part of the movement which is the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, I share the conviction that submission to “the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and to the prayers” is the surest course through the days ahead. May the Lord grant us all His grace and wisdom as we move forward in this new season together.
Bishop Justin will bring to the Anglican Communion a special combination of gifts and experience. I know him as a deeply committed servant of Jesus Christ who honours the Scriptures as the Word of God and as a courageous peacemaker. I am confident that these qualities, together with his sustained involvement in business and finance, will enable him to articulate the Lordship of Christ to a watching world as well as to a Communion in continuing disorder.
After the Primates of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans met earlier this year in London, we said we were praying for a ‘godly leader of God’s people’ to emerge from the selection procedure for the next Archbishop of Canterbury and I believe our prayer has been answered.
However, it would be unfair and misleading to suggest that one man can resolve the crisis which has beset the Anglican Communion in recent years and we also stated our belief ‘that in the future development of the Anglican Communion the chair of the Primates Meeting should be elected by the Primates themselves’.
Our proposal, while not intended to deny the honour due to Canterbury as an historic see, is an expression of the truth we hold as vital, that our identity as Anglicans stems first and foremost from adherence to the faith we confess. It is this which gives substance and integrity to our bonds of affection and our efforts to relieve poverty and promote development.
As the Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, I eagerly look forward to working with the new Archbishop of Canterbury as a partner in the gospel to restore much needed conviction, confidence and unity to the deeply fractured Anglican family.
I assure him of the prayers of this Province and the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans as he prepares for this great calling to serve the Church of England and the wider Communion.
The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala
Archbishop and Primate of Kenya
and Chairman of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON)