18 April 2014

Justin Welby: the hard-nosed realist holding together the Church of England

Justin Welby now looks like the best archbishop of Canterbury the Church of England could possibly have, but when he was appointed he was almost unknown, and had only been a diocesan bishop for nine months. What got him the job – after he had made the shortlist – was that he was the only candidate who did not deny or flinch from the internal research suggesting that the church would dwindle, on existing trends, from about one million committed members to 150,000 by 2050. His first year in the job has been marked by tremendous energy and rather more physical and moral courage than is expected of an archbishop, but there is a tremendous sense of urgency underlying this display.