Friday 9 November 2012

Welcome to New Archbishop of Canterbury, with Experience of Africa

This media statement was released on 9 November 2012.

‘I am delighted at the appointment of Bishop Justin Welby as the next Archbishop of Canterbury’ said the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, after the much anticipated announcement was formally made in London earlier today. ‘The Church of England, with the Anglican Communion, has followed a long and careful discernment process, supported by much prayer around the world. I am glad that they were able to take whatever time they needed to reach their decision – for it is clear that this has allowed them to make a good and wise choice.’

Dr Makgoba has not yet met the current Bishop of Durham, but commented ‘I was particularly encouraged to read of his experience in the secular world, of business and finance, prior to ordination. It is clear that he will bring great gifts to his new role. Each Archbishop of Canterbury is different, bringing their own unique blend of abilities, experience, and character to this tough and stretching responsibility. We have been inordinately blessed through the last decade by the ministry of Dr Rowan Williams, with his combination of profound spirituality, enormous intellect and wisdom, and his courageous voice connecting the challenging essence of the gospel with all areas of life. Bishop Justin comes from a very different background, but will, I am sure, make his own mark, his own significant contribution, as Archbishop of Canterbury. It will be good to have someone with such experience of economic questions which bear so heavily on the church’s primary concerns of overcoming poverty, and promoting comprehensive justice and peace.’ He added that he was very much looking forward to working with the new Archbishop, noting ‘it will be exciting for us in Africa to work with someone who knows our continent, having worked in Nigeria both in the oil industry, and, more recently, in reconciliation. He has faced the tough realities with which so many live, and even looked the possibility of violent death in the face. He knows the harsh daily experience of so many here and around the world.’

The new Archbishop will be enthroned and take up his position early in 2013, after the current Archbishop steps down at the end of the year to return to academic life, becoming the Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Archbishop Thabo said ‘My wife Lungi and I, as well as the whole Anglican Church of Southern Africa, will be holding Bishop Justin, his wife Caroline, and their family, in our prayers, as they prepare to move to Lambeth Palace. We also pray for Archbishop Rowan, Jane, and their children – thanking God for all they have done for us. Our God is above all the God of hope and new life, and I am excited by the prospect of this fresh chapter unfolding both for the Church of England, and the worldwide Anglican Communion.’

Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town
Inquiries: Ms Wendy Kelderman 021 763 1320 (office hours)