2018 likely to be another tough year for the archbishop of Canterbury

Dec 21, 2017 by

by Catherine Pepinster, RNS:

If 2017 was a tough year for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby keeping the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion together, 2018 promises to be tougher still.

There were continuing squabbles over same-sex marriage and headlines about declining congregations through the past 12 months. But in 2018 Welby will have to face particularly testing issues:

  • Any fallout from the appointment of a woman as the bishop of London – the third most senior cleric in the Church of England.
  • The gathering of the international conservative faction known as GAFCON in Jerusalem in June.
  • The likelihood of a breakaway church in England.
  • The threat of a financial “strike” by rebel parishes.

One of the most dramatic moments of 2017 – confirming sharp divisions in the church – was the release of a report on same-sex marriage that Welby praised as a “road map.” It was narrowly rejected by the Church of England’s General Synod because the report  urged that marriage should remain between one man and one woman.

The same-sex marriage issue came closer to home when the Scottish Episcopal Church voted for it and held its first weddings for same-sex couples.

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