Baptists in Great Britain have welcomed the appointment of Rev. Justin Welby as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, citing his wisdom, mediation skills and commitment to mission.
In a widely expected development, the current bishop of Durham was confirmed as the successor to Rev. Rowan Williams on the morning of Nov. 9. He will become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.
Rev. Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, assured the new incumbent of the prayers of the denomination.
“I was delighted to learn that Justin Welby has accepted the invitation to become the new Archbishop of Canterbury,” he said.
“The relationship that Baptists enjoy with the Church of England at local, regional and national levels is extremely important to us and it will be a privilege for us to work with Archbishop Justin in his new ministry.
“The challenges before him are obvious but I believe that this is also a time of huge opportunity and we will always want to do everything possible to encourage Archbishop Justin and to stand with him as he serves the Lord in these momentous days.
“Baptist churches throughout the country will, I know, want to assure Justin, Caroline and their children of our prayers as they adjust to a new home and new roles.”
Welby was the dean of Liverpool between 2007 and 2011, prior to his appointment in Durham. During this time he worked alongside Rev. Phil Jump, regional minister team leader of the North Western Baptist Association. Jump said Welby left quite a mark.
“I am delighted to hear the news that Justin has been appointed archbishop and join many Baptists in offering him and Caroline my prayers and good wishes as they undertake this most challenging of callings,” Jump said.
“During his time at Liverpool Cathedral, Justin helped bring significant change, which has helped to establish the cathedral not only as a viable business entity, but a vibrant center of Christian mission.
“His mediation skills are of international repute, and his insight, wisdom and concern for the well-being of all the people of God will equip him well for the task to which he has now been called.
“But most of all, Justin is a committed and humble disciple of Jesus Christ, and it is that which will both equip him for the task, and commend him as an example that I am sure will inspire Christians around the world.
“I hope that as a Baptist family we can commit ourselves to pray for him ceaselessly as he seeks to be an ambassador for Christ in the most significant of circumstances.”
Rev. John Claydon, regional minister team leader of the Northern Baptist Association, has met Welby on a number of occasions in the past year since his appointment in Durham.
“His appointment is to be welcomed,” he said. “He is high caliber and personable with a vision to see the church engage with society and move forward in mission.
“The only downside is the brevity of his time in Durham.”
This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.