A Christ-heeding life changes the church and a Christ-heeding church changes the world
Take Heart do not abandon the Christian faith
By David W. Virtue in Canterbury www.virtueonline.org
March 21, 2013
The cavernous 900-year old cathedral resounded to the great hymns of the church which included, The Church's One foundation, When I survey the Wondrous Cross and In Christ Alone my Hope is Found, hymns chosen by Archbishop Welby himself, even as women played roles never before seen in a public enthronement.
At the west door of the cathedral, Archbishop Welby was welcomed by 17 year old Evangeline
Kanagasoorian who asked the archbishop, “Why have you been sent.” Welby replied, “I am sent as archbishop to serve you.”
Then the priest who placed him on the diocesan throne in Canterbury - the mother church of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion - was a woman, Archdeacon of Canterbury Sheila Watson.
A male, priest then installed Welby in the chair of St. Augustine, signifying that he was now Primate of All England and spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Among those present which included Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Prime Minister David Cameron and other establishment figures was notable American Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren whose book The Purpose Driven Life has sold more than 40 million copies.
The archbishop received thunderous applause as he left the cathedral.
His presence signals a turn for the Church of England with an evangelical now at the helm, which will surely please American evangelical Episcopalians who feel the Anglican Communion drifted from its biblical moorings under archbishop Rowan Williams. It will also give evangelical Anglicans in the Global South a boost though many remain skeptical that he will fudge sexuality issues in the name of reconciliation and repeat an old cycle of waffle and prevarication.
Global South leaders have made it clear that they will not tolerate any compromise on sexuality issues, compromises that they have listened to for more than a decade.
Many now believe that if the issues of gay marriage and women bishops are not resolved it will further fragment the Anglican Communion.
Welby is on record as saying he is against gay marriage but favors the ordination of women as bishops. Moer recently he has said things that indicates he may go further in recognizing those living in same sex relationships, blurring the lines between full acceptance and pastoral care.
"You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship," he told the BBC, while stressing he had no doubts over the church's policy on same-sex relationships.
Revisionist bishops like US Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and Fred Hiltz of Canada have taken a hard line on homosexuality, believing it is right to legitimize same sex relationships and Rites for same. Global South archbishops have declared such behaviors as aberrant and anathema both biblically and in their respective cultures.
The new Archbishop finds himself in the crosshairs of conflicting worldviews.
"He's a bridge-builder and a reconciler," Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Archbishop of Kaduna in Nigeria - effectively the largest province in the Communion - told the BBC. However his boss Archbishop Nicholas Okoh sees no possibility of reconciliation on a salvation issue like homosexuality.
"It is a good description to call it a holy anarchy," he added, referring to a phrase coined by Welby himself. "And how is he going to put all that together? We wait and see."
Pope Francis, who was formally installed as head of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics a week ago, sent a message from the Vatican congratulating him.
"Please be assured of my prayers as you take up your new responsibilities, and I ask you to pray for me as I respond to the new call that the Lord has addressed to me," he said.
"I look forward to meeting you in the near future, and to continuing the warm fraternal relations that our predecessors enjoyed."
The Church of England now counts about 26 million baptized members, but only about a million of them attend services every Sunday.
You can read the archbishop's sermon here: http://tinyurl.com/bstab2c
The following videos of the occasion are courtesy of ENS: