Bishop Justin Welby becomes archbishop of Canterbury-elect

Posted Jan 11, 2013

[Lambeth Palace] A medieval ceremony has begun the process of the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby becoming the archbishop of Canterbury.

The College of Canons of Canterbury Cathedral has unanimously elected Bishop Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

The 35-strong College of Canons, made up of senior clergy and lay people from the Diocese of Canterbury, met at Canterbury Cathedral’s 14th-century Chapter House to take part in the formality, which dates back more than 1000 years.

The process of electing the next Archbishop of Canterbury by the cathedral community is enshrined within its constitution and can only take place once a Congé d’Élire and Letter Missive from the Crown has been received.

The ceremony was chaired by the Dean of Canterbury, Robert Willis. As is traditional, the candidate was not invited to attend the ceremony, and only one name featured on the ballot sheet for the College of Canons to select.

The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral Reverend Dr Robert Willis said: “The decision we made this morning is taken formally to London.

“In St Paul’s Cathedral on February 4, I shall present this to the Queen’s commission.

“They will say that is valid, legal and right and at that moment Justin Welby becomes in all powers the Archbishop of Canterbury.”


Comments (5)

  1. Dan Webster says:

    Isn’t it more accurate to rever to him as the “archbishop-designate” since he really is appointed? Elect seems to suggest, at least in the USA, there was some open process by which he was elected to his new office.

  2. Marylin Day says:

    How quaint!

  3. George Kooney says:

    Let us all remember Archbishop Welby in our daily prayers.

    And thanks be to God for all the work of Archbishop Williams.

  4. Yes, quaint indeed. However it has significance for those of us who are part of the Anglican Communion but not part of the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is ex officio Primate of the entire Communion as well as Primate of England; he is not elected democratically by the clergy and laypeople of his diocese and the church that he leads in his own country is a state church. In the Episcopal Church every lay or clerical official is democratically elected by the elected representatives of the clergy and laypeople of the church and the Constitution prohibits the establishment of a state church.
    One can–and perhaps should–appreciate the underlying meaning of the ceremonies associated with our heritage through the Church of England of being a continuing Catholic church the foundation of which is not in the 17th century but goes goes back through Canterbury and Rome to the original church of the apostles.
    Our inheritance of a reformed Catholic faith should not prevent our embracing those progressive changes that allow us to proclaim the Good News of God in Jesus Christ to an ever-changing world. May God bless the ministry of our new ‘first among equals’ Archbishop Welby.

  5. Bishop Thomas Henry Jr says:

    Elect simply means chosen. It doesn’t always deal with being voted in. So He is rightfully, Archbishop-elect, because he was chosen to be the next archbishop.

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