Archbishop of Canterbury contributes to new blog on Europe

Sep 1, 2015 by

From ACNS: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has written the first post for a new blog aimed at fostering constructive debate about Britain’s relationship with the European Union ahead of a Referendum in two years’ time. The Archbishop describes the new blog, Reimagining Europe, a joint initiative between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland, as “a platform on which we can seek out new ways of disagreeing well that leaves us energised and revitalised, not dispirited and divided. “The contributors – who will be drawn from as wide a spectrum as possible – will, as a group, invite us to imagine what types of relationship with Europe we need to encourage human flourishing. Their views will vary widely. Read here Read also:  Reimagining Europe: Church wades into EU Referendum, from Archbishop...

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Justin Welby: To take away religious freedom is ‘to violate the core of humanity’

Jul 17, 2015 by

by Ruth Gledhill, Christian Today: Attempts by the Church to compel “obedience” through violence are a cause for humility and shame, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today. The Most Rev Justin Welby also said that to take away a person’s freedom to believe or not to believe is “to violate the core of their humanity”. Archbishop Welby, writing in The Times, said: “We must never compel or manipulate people into faith.” He added: “This is why the church’s sporadic record of compelling obedience to its teachings through violence and coercion  is a cause for humility and shame.” At the same time, faith can never be an optional extra or a consumer choice, like deciding which type of car to buy, he said. Work needs to be done to develop the language used by political and religious leaders to talk about religious belief in their own contexts, and how we understand the beliefs of others, he continued. “Religion defines us. For me, there is quite literally nothing more important than knowing, loving and serving Jesus Christ.” The transformational power of religious belief needs to be nurtured, while distinguishing it from the “mutations of religion” that do so much harm. Describing a visit to a village of straw-roofed huts and a school which had been attacked by raiders, the Archbishop gave a compelling example of the realities of religious persecution. “I found one man, like Job, sitting on a heap of ash. The raiders had killed his wife and six children. He had hidden down a well for three days. On a nearby hill, a raider stood silhouetted with a rifle in his arms and watched us the whole time we were there. The cause of this brutal attack? The village was a Christian community.” Read here...

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Justin Welby’s ‘Spiritual Magpie’ plan to save the Church of England (DV)

Jul 17, 2015 by

By Gillan Scott, Cranmer: There’s a fantastic article this weeks’ Spectator entitled ‘God’s management consultants: the Church of England turns to bankers for salvation‘. It’s the sort of piece that is bound to send many clergy and lay members of the Church of England into a big flap, accusing Justin Welby of attempting to turn their beloved church, with all of its woolliness and eccentricity, into an efficient and hard-nosed organisation full of managerial types who have more interest in numbers and ‘talent pools’ than theology or the pastoral wellbeing of parishioners. “A new mood has taken hold of Lambeth Palace,” writes Mark Greaves: Officials call it urgency; critics say it is panic. The Church of England, the thinking goes, is about to shrink rapidly, even vanish in some areas, unless urgent action is taken. This action, laid out in a flurry of high-level reports, amounts to the biggest institutional shake-up since the 1990s. Red tape is to be cut, processes streamlined, resources optimised. Targets have been set. The Church is ill — and business management is going to cure it. Reformers say they are only removing obstacles that hinder the Church from growing. Opponents, appalled by the business-speak of some of the reports, object to what they see as a ruthless focus on filling pews. This is an approach to the running of the Church of England that takes it into unchartered waters, but given that Justin Welby is the first Archbishop of Canterbury with a business background, should we really be that surprised that he is drawing on his own experience alongside that of a number of high-flying city executives to give this large and complex institution a good shaking? The thing is that at one level Christianity is deeply personal: it is all about an individual’s acceptance of salvation through Jesus Christ and the resulting intimate relationship with God that it is capable of leading to. But on another level it is fully corporate, as believers are commanded to meet together regularly in fellowship as the Body of Christ, which is the Church. Any family that seeks to avoid constant chaos needs to establish rules and structures in order to get on well together and manage their available resources. The bigger the family, the more important good management becomes. Read here...

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Archbishop of Canterbury on religious freedom

Jul 16, 2015 by

Archbishop Justin Welby writes in the Times that our religious beliefs are “a core part of what it is to be human” – and the freedom to practice them must be protected here and abroad. Read the article: The village, as we approached it, was the normal collection of straw-roofed huts and a school. It was only as I got out of the car that the destruction was evident. A few days earlier raiders had struck. I found one man, like Job, sitting on a heap of ash. The raiders had killed his wife and six children. He had hidden down a well for three days. On a nearby hill, a raider stood silhouetted with a rifle in his arms and watched us the whole time we were there. The cause of this brutal attack? The village was a Christian community. Acts of religious violence and the curtailing of freedom of religion are not only directed at Christians. In the Central African Republic Christians have attacked Muslims. Around the world, Christian churches are burned in south India, Muslim and Christian villages attacked in parts of Myanmar. As for the Levant and Mesopotamia, we are all too terribly aware of extreme violence by Isis and its allies against every other group. Earlier this year I visited Egypt to offer condolences following the murder of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, who died proclaiming “Jesus Christ is Lord”. Of the 37 Anglican provinces to which I travelled during my first 18 months in office, almost half were living under persecution. They fear for their lives every day. Read here...

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Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon at York Minster

Jul 12, 2015 by

We will make ourselves unpopular says Archbishop Justin. Amos 7:7-17, Ephesian 1:3-14, Mark 6:14-29 The very solidity of our institutions, the beauty of our buildings, the historic richness of our liturgy and music all conspire together to say to us that we have achieved much, and the future is in our hands: when we then look at the context in which we live, the changes in our society, the contradictions and struggles within our own beliefs and understandings of the call and purpose of God, to have all in our own hands often feels insecure and leads us to fear. When we fear, we retreat into ourselves and become yet more fearful and insecure, as we find within ourselves the darkness and tendency to sin which leads us to doubt our own capacity to overcome the threats that loom like dark shadows in a child’s room at night, promising far more danger than they are capable of delivering. […]  Yet there is always more to fear in ignoring God’s plumb-line to His church than in the constant need to be alert to God’s realigning. We know that John the Baptist felt fear and doubt as he lay in prison. His ministry had been so powerful, and his example so good, down even to the avoidance of any possible pollution of food, that Gregory of Nazianzus reflected, commenting on this passage, how someone God loved so much and did so well, could be allowed to suffer so greatly; and if this is the case we should not be surprised or fearful by suffering ourselves for faithfulness to the Gospel. John was faithful, yet his faithfulness led him to prison and martyrdom. Faithfulness to God over and above loyalty to society or government or custom or culture is never popular. Whether we speak of the need for morality in society, or of the need for the poor to be loved and valued equally, (a standard which we must move towards with a true living wage for all our staff everywhere), or of the importance of the family as the base community of society, or of the intrinsic value of life at its beginnings and ends, or of the need to welcome the stranger, and for solidarity across Europe in doing so: in all of these and many more at every level, we will make ourselves unpopular. Read...

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Princess Charlotte is christened at a Sandringham church

Jul 5, 2015 by

From BBC News: Princess Charlotte has been christened at a church in Sandringham after the Cambridges made their first public outing as a family of four. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pushed the princess in a pram the Queen used for two of her own children. Several thousand well wishers greeted the royals, while Prince George delighted the crowds on foot. The royal couple announced ahead of the christening that they had chosen five godparents for the princess. The christening was held at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, and attended by guests including the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. Other attendees included Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, Catherine’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton and her two siblings, Pippa and James. The baptism, conducted by Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby, was held in private. Read and watch video here Princess Charlotte’s baptism: read the Archbishop’s homily...

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