Justin Welby has been announced as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, to take over in March, three months after Rowan Williams steps down. He will be the spiritual leader of around 77 million Anglicans worldwide. Here’s the advice of a young, inexperienced, but enthusiastic Christian.
Firstly, please don’t “modernise“. You don’t stay true to roughly 1970 year old religion, while trying to imitate modern secular values. But don’t be rigidly traditional either. The traditions that weren’t there at the start, aren’t necessary now (and may be misleading or distracting). Look back to the early Church a lot.
Secondly, please use Bible quotes regularly, on every position you take. It’s brilliantly worded, and links whatever truth you say with the truth that has been said. And the more you appeal to the Bible, the less it’s possible to go astray.
Thirdly, please remember Jesus‘ words
‘Ye have known that the rulers of the nations do exercise lordship over them, and those great do exercise authority over them, but not so shall it be among you, but whoever may will among you to become great, let him be your ministrant; and whoever may will among you to be first, let him be your servant
The COE is quite good at having humble (or humble-seeming) pastors, but be careful against pride and authority. Don’t forget to wash each other‘s feet, perhaps literally.
Please, make it clear that God is your only master. As head of a state-church, you are looked to by many as defining the relationship between Church and state, and God and the Prime Minister. You may well be expected to bless government schemes, taxes, and wars. Remember the King of kings‘ higher standards in all these areas and others too.
Please promote unity. If you consider a group as followers of Jesus, remember and don’t hide the fact, that you are one body.
Please, like Paul speak
wisdom not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age—of those becoming useless
And give out lots of the pure milk of the word.
Please never forget prayer and reading the Bible.
Finally, please walk as he walked.
I‘ll be praying for you.
God bless you.
[Yes, this was a little bit of a sneak-critique; but also genuine advice (who knows what he may read?), and part of the basis for my hopeful prayers for the Church of England.
There’s much that I disagree with in the Anglican Church, but I won’t write against a denomination, and it wouldn’t be advice anyway.
God bless you.]