Patron – The Archbishop of Canterbury
Following his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Hon & Most Revd Justin Welby has succeeded his predecessor as our Joint Patron with the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols.
Born in 1956 in London, the Most Reverend Justin Welby was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied history and law. He worked in the oil industry for eleven years, becoming group treasurer of Enterprise Oil plc. His work was mainly in West African and the North Sea projects. During this period he became a lay leader at Holy Trinity, Brompton in London, having been a council member at St Michael’s Church in Paris.
His father’s family were German Jewish immigrants who moved to England to escape anti-Semitism in the late 19th century and integrated quickly. His British ancestors, on his mother’s side, include several clergymen. A few years after losing a young child in a car crash and sensing a call from God, he stood down from industry to train for ordination. He took a theology degree at St John’s College, Durham, in which he focused on ethics – particularly in business and has since published articles on ethics, international finance and reconciliation. For 20 years, his ministry has blended deep devotion to his parish communities with Church work around the world, especially in areas of conflict.
After being ordained Deacon in 1992, he spent 15 years serving Coventry Diocese. His Curacy was at All Saints Chilvers Coton with St Mary the Virgin Astley, in Nuneaton. In 1995 he became Rector of St James, Southam, a small market town in the same Diocese – and also the next year of St Michael and All Angels, Ufton, the neighbouring parish. He helped revive both churches, growing their congregations and launching bereavement and baptism teams, among other things. Between 2000 and 2002 he also chaired an NHS hospital trust in South Warwickshire.
In 2002, he was made a Canon of Coventry Cathedral, where he ran the reconciliation work based there. With Canons Andrew White and Stephen Davis, he worked extensively in the field in Africa and the Middle East. He has a particular interest in Kenya, the DRC and Nigeria, where he was and remains involved in work with groups involved in the conflict in the north. In the Niger Delta, he has worked on reconciliation with armed groups. He met with religious and political leaders in Israel and Palestine, and on one trip to Baghdad reopened the Anglican Church with Canon Andrew White, shortly after the allied invasion. In 2006 he also took responsibility for Holy Trinity Coventry, the main city centre church, as Priest-in-charge.
He left Coventry five years later, being installed Dean of Liverpool on 8 December 2007. Liverpool Cathedral is the largest cathedral in England.It’ss local area, Toxteth, is among the most deprived in north-west Europe. During his deanship, he brought the Cathedral into much greater contact with its local community, working with asylum seekers and in partnership with neighbouring churches. The Cathedral also hosted events from a TUC rally to royal services. Over his four years, during which he also continued to work on reconciliation and mediation projects overseas, the Cathedral’s congregation increased significantly.
In 2011, he returned to the place where his journey towards becoming Archbishop began: on 2 June 2011, he was announced as the new Bishop of Durham and was enthroned at Durham Cathedral on 26 November, and drew parallels between Liverpool and Durham – noting both the struggles and the enduring spirit of the two places.
An expert on the politics and history of Kenya and Nigeria, he has lectured on reconciliation at the US State Department. In the summer of 2012, he was asked to join the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
On 9 November 2012, Justin Welby was announced as the 105th Archbishop of the See of Canterbury. He officially became Archbishop on 4 February 2013, succeeding Dr Rowan Williams who retired at the end of December 2012. The new Archbishop was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013.
His interests include French culture, sailing and politics. He is married to Caroline, who studied Classics at Cambridge, where they met. They have two sons and three daughters.
See more at the Arch Bishop Of Canterbury website.