A new day.
|Bishop Welby is joined by his wife, Caroline, as members of the Vineyard movement pray for the new Archbishop of Canterbury.|
From the London Telegraph here:
Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, said the financial crisis and a series of scandals had “toppled the idols” on which British society had been based for decades but could open up the way for a wider return to Christianity.
He said the current mood in the country offered the Church its “greatest moment of opportunity since the Second World War.”
His comments, days before he formally takes over as Archbishop, herald a shift in the direction of the Church of England, with a more explicit drive to win converts rather than being perceived as simply managing decline.
Speaking to an evangelical audience in Nottingham, he said Christians should be unashamed to talk openly about their faith. He said the Church should “grasp the opportunity” presented by an expanding social role, through running schools and initiatives such as food banks, to spread the Christian message.
He told an audience at the Trent Vineyard church near Nottingham that while the economic downturn had a devastating effect, it could also open the way for social change.
“I think we are in the greatest moment of opportunity for the Church since the Second World War,” he said.
“In 2008 we had the most significant financial collapse in this country, in terms of the banking system, since the mid-19th century. One of the reasons the recession has been so deep and may be going into a triple dip is because there has been such a loss of confidence.
“But the side effect of that has been that the state has run out of the capacity to do the things it had taken over since 1945. All the idols on which our society was based have fallen, they have been toppled. They have been toppled by the financial crisis, by scandal. Trust has broken down.”
He said the “idols” included materialism and the belief in the economy’s capacity to continue growing, adding: “And the state as security can no longer provide what it [could].
“I grew up in a country in which the idea of a food bank was something you had in the United States of America, we didn’t have any. There are 50 . . . in my diocese alone today.
“These are things that we never imagined because if you ran out of money the state cared for you.”
He suggested that the state could no longer “replace” the Church in carrying out “works of mercy.”
“We are educating, in my diocese, 50,000 children. In the country as a whole the Church of England alone educates a million children every day,” he said.
“Are we going to take the opportunities that are there for the grasping to bring people to know and love Jesus Christ?”
Bishop Welby said all Christians should be prepared to actively speak about their faith. Founded in California in the early 1970s the Vineyard movement now has more than 1,500 churches around the world. Part of the charismatic strand of evangelicalism, it has an emphasis on the “gifts of the spirit.”