At the time of writing this, we await the likely announcement that Justin Welby, the current Bishop of Durham, will be the next leader of the Anglican Communion. There is a 15 min radio profile on him here.
Here is my gathering of a few facts about him;
Eaton school. Most expensive fee paying school in the land, where the rich and autocratic send their kids.
Trinity College Cambridge. Member of the Christian Union, a very Evangelical Grouping known as ‘the God Squad’. The dean however (in contrast to Dean of John Robinson, was a liberal radical, famous for a controversial liberal theology book called ‘Honest to God’.)
Evangelical. Attended Holy Trinity Brompton, Charismatic in outlook.
Joined an Oil Company, became treasurer. Very rich.
1989 gave it up to become parish priest.
10 years ago, fast rise up church hierarchy- Dean, Bishop of Liverpool, Bishop of Durham (less than a year.)
Where does he stand on those totemic issues that have the capacity to rip the church apart? Apparently he is supportive of women in ministry, but his views on homosexuality are less clear. He has suggested that he supports the ‘churches position’ on the matter, which might suggest he holds to traditional teaching.
However, others have suggested he has really good skills relevant to the post- being a great communicator, intermediary, good with managing money and engaging with issues. This as contrast with the outgoing Archbishop, Rowan Williams, who was a brilliant, deeply spiritual, cerebral character.
Leadership matters. We only have to look at the things happening in the Roman Catholic Church at the moment under the leadership of Pope Benedict as he tries to roll back changes made in the church over the last 40 years since Vatican II.
The Anglican Communion is a very different animal however- much more about the vicarage kitchen table than the Papal palace. I hope and pray that Justin Welby will be a leader who we will look back on with same affection as most will be doing on his predecessor.