BISHOPS serving Burton and South Derbyshire have welcomed the Bishop of Durham’s appointment as the next leader of the Church of England.
The bishops of Lichfield and Derby spoke after Downing Street confirmed that Right Reverend Justin Welby would be the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.
The 56-year-old Bishop of Durham, an Old Etonian former oil trader, will become head of Anglicanism’s 77 million followers when the Most Reverend Rowan Williams steps down next month after a decade in office.
The Bishop of Derby, Right Reverend Dr Alastair Redfern, said: “I welcome the appointment of the Bishop of Durham, who is a person of outstanding gifts who will bring appropriate leadership for the next chapter of our Church’s history.
“I am sure the whole diocese will join me in praying God’s blessing on him.” The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill, said the Rt Rev Welby’s appointment was ‘very good news for the Church and for the nation, for the Commonwealth and the worldwide Anglican Communion’.
He said: “Rowan Williams is a very hard act to follow but Justin has many gifts too and this daring and imaginative appointment will be widely welcomed.
“We thank God for the good news and pray for him and his wife and family as they make the complicated and daunting move from Durham to London. May God richly bless them.”
Ordained in 1992, Rt Rev Welby became Bishop of Durham, the fourth most senior post in the Church, in November last year after serving as Dean of Liverpool for four years.
He had worked as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s special envoy to Africa, attempting to build unity between Christian and Muslim communities in Nigeria.
Reverend Nigel Irons, vicar of All Saints Church in Branston Road, Burton, said he was ‘delighted’ by the Rt Rev Welby’s appointment.
He said: “He seems to be a guy who has his head screwed on, a very humble guy, very self-deprecating, not arrogant and a very godly man who is wanting to genuinely listen to people and God in fulfilling his role. I’m excited by that.”
Rev Irons said the bishop’s willingness to make personal sacrifices to pursue God’s calling was a great example to anyone who aspired to leadership in the Church.