Category : Archbishop of Canterbury

News about, sermons, letters, commentary by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams–A Sermon for Ascension Day in 2011

Jesus hasn’t just gone away. He has gone deeper into the heart of reality–our reality and God’s. He has become far more than a visible friend and companion; he has shown himself to be the very centre of our life, the source of our loving energy in the world and the source of our prayerful, trustful waiting on God. He has made us able to be a new kind of human being, silently and patiently trusting God as a loving parent, actively and hopefully at work to make a difference in the world, to make the kind of difference love makes.

So if the world looks and feels like a world without God, the Christian doesn’t try to say, ‘It’s not as bad as all that’, or seek to point to clear signs of God’s presence that make everything all right. The Christian will acknowledge that the situation is harsh, even apparently unhopeful–but will dare to say that they are willing to bring hope by what they offer in terms of compassion and service. And their own willingness and capacity for this is nourished by the prayer that the Spirit of Jesus has made possible for them.

The friends of Jesus are called, in other words, to offer themselves as signs of God in the world–to live in such a way that the underlying all-pervading energy of God begins to come through them and make a difference.

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Posted in --Rowan Williams, Ascension, Christology, Preaching / Homiletics

Stephen Noll–Who Moved? Gafcon and Prophetic Traditionalism

In a sense, the first half of the Jerusalem Declaration looks backward to the ancient paths, while the second half addresses issues of the present and future. However, even here the Declaration is drawing from tradition.

Clause 8 refers back to the 1920 Lambeth Resolutions 66-67 defining the “unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family,” which itself is derived from the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 19:1-6) and the Creation account in Genesis 1-2.

Clause 9 takes us to the Great Commission of the Risen Lord to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20), which is itself rooted in God’s call to Israel to be a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). It is this missionary call which led Anglicans sacrificially to bring the Gospel to the far reaches of the British Empire.

Clauses 11-13 seek to express the delicate balance of ecumenical hope, legitimate variation on non-essential matters, and the need to reject false teaching. Some on the theological Left – these are the folk who defrocked and sued confessing Anglicans in North America – claim that Anglicanism has always been infinitely flexible in tolerating “diversity.” Not if we go back to the founders, who said this: whosoever shall be sent to teach the people, shall not only in their preaching, but also by subscription confirm the authority, and truth of those articles.He that doth otherwise, or troubleth the people with contrary doctrine, shall be excommunicated.”

The final clause of the Jerusalem Declaration sets the entire Statement in the perspective of the Second Coming of Christ. In the prophetic vision of John the Divine (the Book of Revelation), Jesus Christ, the Lamb that was slain, is revealed as the Alpha and Omega who unites the past, present, and future of the creation and history, and who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

What then should we do? The Prophets of the Old and New Testaments are unanimous in replying: Repent! To the Anglican Church in particular, the Spirit says: Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent”(Revelation 2:5).

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON

Stephen Noll-what does Archbishop Welby Mean Exactly by Calling Gafcon a Ginger Group?

Now for the not-so-subtle nuance. The Archbishop was not intending to flatter the upcoming Conference but to belittle it. How do I know that? Because his characterization of Gafcon as a “ginger group” cannot be further from the actual character of the movement, and he knows that.

Gafcon is not a global “friendly society,” nor is it seeking to pressure Canterbury, because Canterbury has made clear over twenty years that it pays us no regard. This was apparent ten years ago when Archbishop Rowan Williams bypassed the Global South Primates and invited to the Lambeth Conference the bishops of the Episcopal Church who had consecrated Gene Robinson. (Rest assured: they will be invited back in 2020.) As a result, the Global Anglican Future Conference was convened in Jerusalem in 2008.

Gafcon was not called as “ginger group” but as a reordering of the Anglican Communion. In its Jerusalem Statement, the Conference claimed:

  • that it was founding something enduring, “not just a moment in time, but a movement in the Spirit”;
  • that three facts justified this reordering: (a) the acceptance and promotion of a false gospel (heresy) in churches of the Communion; (b) the resulting breach of communion among Anglican churches; and (c) the manifest failure of the official “Instruments” to discipline the heretics;
  • that the Gafcon movement is not leaving the Anglican Communion but reforming it on the basis of its classic faith and articles, amplified in a new “Jerusalem Declaration”; and
  • that it was establishing a Primates’ Council that would, when necessary, authenticate new faithful Anglican jurisdictions.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, writes a letter which warns TEC (The Episcopal Church) about same-sex marriage rites

Proposals to incorporate marriage rites used by same-sex couples into the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church in the United States will increase pressure in the Church of England to “dissociate” itself, the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, has warned.

In a letter to the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which has produced the proposals, Mr Nye writes that, if the rites — written to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples — are incorporated into the BCP as the only marriage rite, “the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC [the Episcopal Church], in all manner of ways, would increase”. Such a move would also be “potentially damaging” to work in the C of E to create a new teaching document on sexuality (News, 30 June), he writes.

He goes on to warn that, if provision is not made for traditionalists in the Episcopal Church, it would be a “serious blow for interfaith relations, negatively impacting Christians around the world especially in areas where they are persecuted minorities, as well as harming the stringent efforts to reinforce moderation in religious expression in countries like ours which are affected by terrorism”. The Episcopal Church’s promulgation of the new liturgies is, he writes, “at the least, unhelpful to those of us seeking to bring the Church of England’s deliberations to a good outcome”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

‘What do we mean when we pray Thy Kingdom Come?’ The Reverend Nicky Gumbel & Archbishop Justin Welby

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(Christian Today) Archbishop of Canterbury: Journalists are ‘indispensable’ to modern Britain

The archbishop of Canterbury has said ‘there is nothing more important’ than a free press holding people to account.

Justin Welby said journalists are ‘indispensable’ as he spoke to students at Canterbury Christ Church University.

‘In most of the countries where Anglicans live… there is no freedom of the press, or the press is corrupted in one way or another. In many places people will be tortured, threatened, bribed – all of the above,’ he said in an interview with journalism students.

‘For all the irritations of the press, and I can get as cross with reading a paper as anyone, what they do is hold people to account and make sure we have a free society – there is nothing more important.’

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Media

Martin Davie–Reimagining Reimagined – A Review Of Justin Welby’s Reimagining Britain

Contrary to what is said in the blurb on the back cover of the book, the Archbishop is not offering ‘a radical vision for 21st century Britain.’ If all that he proposes came to pass, British society would not actually change that much. What he is offering is a modest proposal for the development of existing British society and government policy along lines that have also been put forward by a large number of other writers on this topic.

What is helpful about the Archbishop’s proposal is that he identifies a number of key issues which anyone concerned with the development of British society needs to bear in mind.

Practices must reflect values and virtues.
In order to flourish Britain needs to be a society marked by the practice of love and by the values of community, courage and stability.
There need to be Intermediate institutions (including households and religious groups) that exist between the individual and the state.
Families, education, health, housing, and economics and finance are the basic building blocks of British society and problems in these five areas need to be addressed.
Britain needs to express its values in relation to immigration and integration, foreign policy and climate change.
It is important that churches and other religious groups should be given the freedom to challenge a liberal hegemony and be encouraged to bless society through their activities.
The specific policy proposals made by the Archbishop, such as giving greater support to those caring for family members, ensuring that those responsible for new housing encourage the development of community life and rebalancing the British economy so that it is less dependent on the financial sector, are also sensible and would have widespread support.

The Archbishop’s policy proposals are lacking in detail.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ACNS) Thy Kingdom Come – Archbishop Justin Welby’s journey of faith

More than 40 years ago, whilst studying at Cambridge University, Archbishop Justin Welby made a decision to give his life to Christ, inspired by the prayers of family and friends.

Read it all and watch the whole video.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter Sermon for 2018

On this day we celebrate the simplest of events, the historic reality of the resurrection of Jesus, on the third day, after his execution and burial.

The Resurrection is a slow-burning explosion that changes individual lives, groups of people, whole societies, the course of history and the structure of the cosmos.

It was always of cosmic impact, all heaven rejoices, the world has shifted. The creator became one of his creatures, experienced mortality and shifted the patterns of reality. Like the birth of Jesus at the beginning it was experienced only by a few people in a few places – yet through the power of God the news of the Resurrection opened new life to all who heard it, and led them in new directions of which they could not imagine. God’s nature is to give us space to respond, space to ignore him, in this life. Of course, that choice has consequences now and beyond the grave, but we are wooed, not compelled, to follow Christ.

Whilst at the empty tomb we are on the very edges of mystery, we are confronted with the simple wisdom of God: Jesus Christ, the one that was truly dead, is now truly alive. Since Jesus is risen from the dead, he is alive to be met and known by you and by me.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Easter, Eschatology, Preaching / Homiletics

([London) Times) Archbishop Justin Welby: This is no time for cosy Christianity. A shock awaits you

For many in our society, Christianity seems a largely benign, if perhaps an undramatic, undemanding, influence. But anyone who’s spent any serious amount of time thinking about the meaning and Christian understanding of Easter might begin to think again. Because when it comes to the story of a man who has been tortured to death then physically raised from the dead . . . that’s where a lot of people come unstuck.

The story of Jesus is scandalous: people simply do not rise from the dead. And perhaps for some there’s a temptation to dismiss it as a piece of folklore some of us haven’t managed to shake off. Given a bit more time, they think, it will be consigned to history. But Christians cannot — will not — do that, because it’s the central point of our faith. There is something simple about this good news: Jesus, who was truly dead, is now truly alive. Jesus came back from the dead: he was resurrected, not resuscitated.

And since Jesus is risen from the dead, he is alive, to be encountered and known by you and by me. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, none of this matters. If it’s just a story or metaphor, frankly, I should resign from my job, all church buildings should be sold and our voluntary efforts channelled into social services.

Read it all (requires subsciption).

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Easter

(Surviving Church) A Survivor’s Reply to the Archbishops’ pastoral letter on the IICSA

Another point: if you’re going to start a pastoral letter with a biblical quotation, make it an appropriate one. The passage which came to my mind when I read your letter was another saying of Jesus:

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. (Mt. 5:23-24)

We have just spent three weeks finding out how much is justly held against the leaders of our Church. The debt is huge, but you can at least make a start. John, you need to work on being reconciled with Matt Ineson before you next attend church. Justin, what about making amends to Gilo for those 17 unanswered letters? But only if you take Jesus seriously, of course.

Finally I’d like to say, in my most pastoral manner, that neither of you seems good at responding appropriately to people who’ve been on the receiving end of the bad stuff that happens in religious organisations. So here’s another suggestion. When you need to write a letter like the one we’ve just had, or to make a statement, run it past a survivor first. Most of us don’t want you to look uncaring and incompetent, we really don’t. We can help you to write sensitively, to respond appropriately, to offer assistance that will actually make a difference. Many of us have years of experience working with other survivors; researching; struggling with the theological and spiritual implications of being abused. Some of us can even contribute liturgical material you might find useful. We survivors offer a resource for the Church that you need badly. Don’t continue to despise it.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

The Pastoral letter from the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

We take very seriously all that has been heard by the Inquiry. Archbishop Justin said when he gave evidence last week that he had learned again through listening and reading the evidence given to the Inquiry, that we must not simply say sorry, but that we must also take action that demonstrates clearly that we have learnt the lessons.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

A Rowan Williams sermon on the life and ministry of Oscar Romero on Archbishop Romero’s Feast Day

And so his question to all those who have the freedom to speak in the Church and for the Church is ‘who do you really speak for?’ But if we take seriously the underlying theme of his words and witness, that question is also, ‘who do you really feel with?’ Are you immersed in the real life of the Body, or is your life in Christ seen only as having the same sentiments as the powerful? Sentir con la Iglesia in the sense in which the mature Romero learned those words is what will teach you how to speak on behalf of the Body. And we must make no mistake about what this can entail: Romero knew that this kind of ‘feeling with the Church’ could only mean taking risks with and for the Body of Christ – so that, as he later put it, in words that are still shocking and sobering, it would be ‘sad’ if priests in such a context were not being killed alongside their flock. As of course they were in El Salvador, again and again in those nightmare years.

But he never suggests that speaking on behalf of the Body is the responsibility of a spiritual elite. He never dramatised the role of the priest so as to play down the responsibility of the people. If every priest and bishop were silenced, he said, ‘each of you will have to be God’s microphone. Each of you will have to be a messenger, a prophet. The Church will always exist as long as even one baptized person is alive.’ Each part of the Body, because it shares the sufferings of the whole – and the hope and radiance of the whole – has authority to speak out of that common life in the crucified and risen Jesus.

So Romero’s question and challenge is addressed to all of us, not only those who have the privilege of some sort of public megaphone for their voices. The Church is maintained in truth; and the whole Church has to be a community where truth is told about the abuses of power and the cries of the vulnerable. Once again, if we are serious about sentir con la Iglesia, we ask not only who we are speaking for but whose voice still needs to be heard, in the Church and in society at large. The questions here are as grave as they were thirty years ago. In Salvador itself, the methods of repression familiar in Romero’s day were still common until very recently. We can at least celebrate the fact that the present head of state there has not only apologized for government collusion in Romero’s murder but has also spoken boldly on behalf of those whose environment and livelihood are threatened by the rapacity of the mining companies, who are set on a new round of exploitation in Salvador and whose critics have been abducted and butchered just as so many were three decades back. The skies are not clear: our own Anglican bishop in Salvador was attacked ten days ago by unknown enemies; but the signs of hope are there, and the will to defend the poor and heal the wounds.

Read it all.

Posted in --El Salvador, --Rowan Williams, Church History

(Surviving Church) Stephen Parsons: IICSA–reflections on Archbp Welby’s conclusions

A second word came out of [Archbp Justin] Welby’s reflections at the end of the questions by Fiona Scolding. This was the word ‘tribalism’. The Archbishop wanted to make the point that when groups or factions within the church band together to protect themselves and their privileges, that creates an atmosphere highly hostile to good and transparent safeguarding. Although he used the word tribalism in the context of protecting vulnerable people in the church, it was clear that this word also sums up many of the problems being faced by the Church of England in other areas. Tribalism seems to be rife in the whole Anglican Communion and is the cause of many of its intractable divisions.

Those of us listening to his words realise that, for the Archbishop, church tribalism is a source of deep frustration. The problem is that everyone feels stronger when they band together with others to accomplish a particular task. Some tribalism is of course healthy. The church rightly encourages people to gather together the purposes of study, prayer and worship. Feeling support from others as we grow together in community is something that enriches our lives. But community or communion can become something dark when it descends into tribalism. This negative side of community is manifested when the individual surrenders their thinking and feeling to a group mind. In political terms this is seen in mass movements whether on the Right or on the Left. Anyone who attends a fascist rally does not have to think for themselves. He or she is part of something great and of enormous power. The Movement, the Cause has replaced the individual isolated functioning which belongs to a single person. Within the mass gathering there is power; outside the rally there is only insignificance and a sense of personal weakness.

A readiness to surrender our individual weakness in exchange for tribal power is perhaps not as far away from each of us as we would like to think.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(BBC) Archbishop of Canterbury ‘ashamed’ of Church over abuse

The Most Rev Justin Welby told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that it was “horrifying” to read the evidence from survivors.

“I have learned to be ashamed again,” he said.

The three-week hearing is looking into the Diocese of Chichester, where dozens of clergy have been accused of abuse.

Mr Welby said: “To read the transcripts, to read the evidence, to meet the survivors, is horrifying to a huge degree, because you see this extraordinary and atrocious willingness to turn a blind eye to things going very seriously wrong and entirely damaging human beings for their whole lifetimes.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence