Bishop Justin Welby 56 will be enthroned as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England, on March 23, 2013. He will be replacing Dr. Rowan Williams who will be retiring at the end of December after ten years as Archbishop. In February 2008, British Jewish lobby groups called Rowan an ‘anti-Semite’ for suggesting that certain laws of Islamic Shari’ah would be good for the British society.
According to Rev. Justin Welby’s official biography – his father’s family were German Jewish immigrants who moved to England in the late 19th century. Welby met his future wife Caroline at Cambridge. They have two sons and three daughters. Earlier this year, Bishop Welby recalled his father’s telling him that he had sailed to New York as a teenager after the 1929 crash, and worked as a bootlegger.
Recent letters revealed that Bishop’s father Gavin Bernard Welby (died 1977) began his career as a bootlegger (selling illegal alcohol) and later became a successful whisky trader. He also became friend of the Kennedy family. British Jewish daily Mail reported that Gavin introduced John F. Kennedy to a 21-year-old Swedish mistress just few weeks before the future president married Jacqueline Bouvier. Gavin Welby himself had a passionate affair with British actress Vanessa Redgrave.
Justin Welby, an Evangelical Anglican, before finding Lord Christ in 1989 – worked in oil industry for 11 years in Paris and London. As an executive, he supervised oilfield projects in several African countries. Bishop Welby has visited Israel, Nigeria, Iraq and several other African hotspots for doing his Lord’s (missionary) work. He has been arrested a few times for his covert ‘peace missions’ among the anti-government Christian rebels.
British prime minister David Cameron while confirming Bishop Welby’s new position – lauded him as a source of fresh air at Canterbury as leader of 77 million Anglican Christians. However, Bishop Welby is against same sex marriage and appointing female Bishops. David Cameron’s government is in favor of same sex marriage.
As the leader of the Anglican Church, Welby will be facing a tough task on issues like the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which has divided the Christian communities in Britain. Early this month, Catholic groups boycotted a meeting on ‘Justice and Peace in the Holy Land’ under pressure from the Board of Jewish Deputies. Read the article from British ‘Church Times’, here.