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Justin Welby

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Title: Justin Welby  
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Collection: 1956 Births, 21St-Century Anglican Bishops, Alumni of Durham University, Alumni of Trinity College, Cambridge, Archbishops of Canterbury, Bishops of Durham, British Businesspeople in the Oil Industry, Deans of Liverpool, English Anglicans, English Expatriates in France, English People of German-Jewish Descent, Evangelical Anglicans, Living People, Lords Spiritual, Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, People Educated at Eton College, People Educated at St Peter's School, Seaford, People from Lincolnshire, People from London
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Justin Welby

 The Most Revd and Rt Hon
Justin Welby
MA(Cantab) BA DipMin[1]
Archbishop of Canterbury
Church Church of England
Province Province of Canterbury
Diocese Diocese of Canterbury
(delegated to the Bishop of Dover)
Elected 4 February 2013
Installed 21 March 2013
Predecessor Rowan Williams
Ordination 1992 (deacon)
1993 (priest)
Consecration 28 October 2011
by John Sentamu
Personal details
Birth name Justin Portal Welby
Born (1956-01-06) 6 January 1956
London, England
Nationality British
Denomination Church of England
Residence Lambeth Palace, London
The Old Palace, Canterbury
Spouse Caroline Eaton
Children 6 (one deceased[2])
Previous post Bishop of Durham (2011–2013)
Alma mater Eton College
Trinity College, Cambridge
St John's College, Durham
Coat of arms }

Justin Portal Welby (born 6 January 1956[3]) is the 105th and current Archbishop of Canterbury and senior bishop in the Church of England. Welby was formerly the vicar of Southam, Warwickshire,[4] and most recently was the Bishop of Durham, serving for just over a year.[5] As Archbishop of Canterbury he is Primate of All England and the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Welby's early career was in the oil industry. In 1989, he studied for ordination at St John's College, Durham. After several parochial appointments he became the Dean of Liverpool in 2007 and the Bishop of Durham in 2011.

Welby's theology is reported as representing the evangelical tradition within Anglicanism.[6] Some of his publications explore the relationship between finance and religion and, as a member of the House of Lords, he sits on the panel of the 2012 Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Business career 2
  • Ministry 3
    • Archbishop of Canterbury 3.1
  • Views 4
    • Islam 4.1
    • Women bishops 4.2
    • Fuel suppliers 4.3
    • Poverty 4.4
    • High-interest lending 4.5
    • Food banks 4.6
    • Modern slavery 4.7
    • Persecution of Christians 4.8
    • Sexuality and same-sex marriage 4.9
  • Personal life 5
  • Titles 6
    • Arms 6.1
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life and education

Chapel of Eton College
from the BBC radio programme Today, 26 July 2013[7]

Problems playing this file? See .

Welby was born on 6 January 1956 in London, England.[3] His father, known as Gavin Bramhall James Welby, was born Bernard Gavin Weiler, in Ruislip, West London, in 1910, and died in 1977.[8][9] He was an alcoholic (see Alcoholism in family systems).[10] Welby's paternal grandfather, Bernard Weiler, was a German Jewish immigrant and an importer of luxury items; shortly after the First World War broke out, he changed the family name to Welby.[11][9][12][13] Welby did not find out about his father's Jewish ancestry until he was an adult.

Welby's mother was Jane Gillian Portal, born 1929, who had been one of Winston Churchill's personal secretaries from December 1949 until her marriage to Gavin Welby in April 1955; she once took a very young Welby to tea with the aged Churchill.[14][15] Through his mother, Welby is a connected to British and Empire politics and religion. Jane Portal was the daughter of Iris Butler (1905-2002), a journalist and historian, whose brother Rab became Conservative Deputy Prime Minister, later Baron Butler of Saffron Walden. Their father was Sir Montagu Butler, Governor of Central Provinces of British India between 1925 and 1933. He was the grandnephew of the first Bishop of Natal, John William Colenso.

Welby's parents were divorced in 1959. His mother married banker and company director Charles Williams in 1975 (who, when elevated to the House of Lords as a Labour life peer in 1985, took the title of Baron Williams of Elvel). Welby's stepfather was the nephew of career soldier Brigadier Arnold de Lérisson Cazenove and Elizabeth Laura Gurney, of the family of Quaker bankers and reformers.

Welby was educated at St Peter's School, Seaford and Eton. He went to Trinity College, Cambridge where he received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in history and law in 1978; as per tradition, this was later promoted to a Master of Arts (MA (Cantab)) degree.[16]

Business career

Welby worked for 11 years in the oil industry, five of them for the French oil company Elf Aquitaine based in Paris. In 1984 he became treasurer of the oil exploration group Enterprise Oil PLC in London, where he was mainly concerned with West African and North Sea oil projects. He retired from his executive position in 1989 and said that he sensed a calling from God to be ordained.[17]

During his oil industry career, Welby became a congregation member at the evangelical Anglican church of Holy Trinity in Brompton, London.[2]

In July 2013, following the report of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards Commission, Welby explained that senior bank executives avoided being given information about difficult issues to allow them to "plead ignorance."[18] He also said he would possibly have behaved in the same way and warned against punishing by naming and shaming individual bankers which he compared to the behaviour of a lynch mob.[18]


Welby was at first rejected for ordination by John Hughes, the Bishop of Kensington, who told him: "There is no place for you in the Church of England."[19] Welby was subsequently accepted for ordination, with the support of the Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, Sandy Millar.

From 1989 to 1992, Welby studied theology and trained for the priesthood at Cranmer Hall and St John's College, Durham, where he was awarded a BA degree and DipMin in 1992 before becoming a curate at Chilvers Coton and St Mary the Virgin, Astley (Nuneaton) from 1992 to 1995. He then became rector of St James' Church, Southam, and later vicar of St Michael and All Angels, Ufton, Diocese of Coventry, from 1995 to 2002.[20]

In 2002, Welby was appointed a canon residentiary of Coventry Cathedral and the co-director for International Ministry at the International Centre for Reconciliation. In 2005, he was appointed Sub-Dean and Canon for Reconciliation Ministry.

Welby was appointed Dean of Liverpool Cathedral in December 2007 and was installed there on 8 December 2007.[21]

Welby has written widely on ethics and on finance, featuring in books such as Managing the Church?: Order and Organisation in a Secular Age and Explorations in Financial Ethics. Welby's dissertation, an exploration into whether companies can sin, marks his point that the structure of a system can "make it easier to make the right choice or the wrong choice."[22] His dissertation led to the publication of a booklet entitled Can Companies Sin?: "Whether", "How" and "Who" in Company Accountability, which was published by Grove Books in 1992.[23] He has said that the Benedictine and Franciscan orders in the Anglican churches, along with Catholic social teaching, have influenced his spiritual formation.[24]

Interviewed by the BBC in 2011, Welby said that to be appointed Bishop of Durham was both challenging and a huge privilege: "I was astonished to be offered the role. It is a passionate desire to see a church that is vigorously full of spiritual life, serving Jesus Christ and serving those around it."[25] His election was confirmed at York Minster on 29 September 2011 and he left Liverpool Cathedral on 2 October. He was consecrated as a bishop at York Minster on 28 October 2011[26] and was enthroned as Bishop of Durham in Durham Cathedral on 26 November 2011. He was introduced to the House of Lords on 12 January 2012,[27][28] where he sits on the Lords Spiritual bench.[29] He gave his maiden speech on 16 May 2012.[30] He was asked to join the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in 2012.

Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin Welby and Paul Kim, Primate of the Province of Korea, at Seoul Cathedral in 2013.

Welby emerged as a candidate to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury; on 6 November 2012 the bookmakers Betvictor, Ladbrokes and William Hill suspended betting on his being appointed.[31] On 9 November 2012 Welby's appointment to the position was announced. In January 2013 Welby said that he had regarded it as "a joke" and "perfectly absurd" for him to be appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, because he had only been a bishop for a short time.[32] His Confirmation of Election ceremony to the See of Canterbury took place at St Paul's Cathedral on 4 February 2013;[4] on the following day it was announced that Welby would be appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, as all archbishops are;[33] the order for his appointment was made on 12 February[34] and he swore the oath on 13 March.[35]

He was enthroned as the Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013,[36] which in the calendar[37] of the Anglican Church is an observance of Thomas Cranmer. His schedule included an official visit to the Vatican on 14 June 2013, with visits to senior Curial officials, including Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, an official audience with Pope Francis, and prayer at the tombs of Saint Peter and Pope John Paul II.[38]



In July 2014, Welby acknowledged that there was a problem with young Muslim youths travelling to the Syrian civil war and elsewhere to wage jihad but the numbers were “extraordinarily small”, and so he scoffed at concerns over the potential for trouble as "hysterical... I think we’re in danger of slipping into a very fearful culture".[39]

Welby is concerned about persecution of Christians in Muslim nations and elsewhere.

Women bishops

Welby favours Anglican consecration of women bishops.[40] Following a rejection of female bishops by the General Synod in November 2012, Welby spoke of a "Very grim day, most of all for women priests and supporters".[40][41]

In July 2013 Justin Welby stated, In November 2013 Welby stated he aims to ordain women bishops while allowing space for those who disagree. In February 2014 calls on Anglicans to avoid fear, prejudice and suspicion, to grasp "cultural change in the life of the church".

Welby would like discipline applied over appointments to prevent opponents of women bishops feeling alienated. Welby hopes to avoid a zero sum game where people feel gain for one side inevitably means loss for the other, he sees need for caution, co-operation and unity.[45]

Fuel suppliers

Welby feels rises in energy prices in the UK appear "inexplicable".

Welby also feels energy companies have a responsibility towards customers they should take account of this rather than only maximising their own opportunities.

Welby is concerned about Fuel poverty which he feels is serious as energy costs have risen while incomes remain static or decline.


Referring to poverty in the UK in March 2013 Welby criticised UK government changes which cap benefits below inflation. In a speech at Christmas 2013 Welby said, In a speech at Easter 2013 Welby said,

Referring to poverty in the UK and generally Welby said, we should all share concern for the poor and the marginalised, should work to build communities where people act responsibly towards one another, whether we are rich or poor we all have the same dignity. William Beveridge, R. H. Tawney and William Temple played a significant part in establishing the post-war welfare state in the United Kingdom and were committed Christians. We do not have the luxury of saying, "Something must be done" without doing anything ourselves.

Justice of the powerful is not justice at all and judges should decide issues based on truth and the common good rather than class and money.[53] Welby quoted Nelson Mandela that, "dealing with poverty was a matter of justice rather than charity." Welby felt speaking out about poverty, fuel bills, financial insecurity affecting families and Credit unions is part of the Christian duty to love ones neighbour.[54][55]

Welby hopes people will resolve to help deal with poverty in their own neighbourhoods, in a BBC television broadcast he said, "I want to suggest this year that each of us makes a resolution to try and change the world a bit where we are"[56]

High-interest lending

In July 2013, Welby spoke out against the payday lending sites, and met with Errol Damelin, chief executive of Wonga. Welby pledged that the Church of England would support credit unions as society needs to "provide an alternative" to the "very, very costly forms of finance" that payday lending services represent. He noted that he did not want to make legal payday lending illegal as this would leave people with no alternative to using criminal loan sharks.[57]

Shortly after this well-publicised intervention in the public debate, it emerged that the Church of England's pension fund had invested money in Accel Partners, a venture capital firm that had invested in Wonga. This led to accusations of hypocrisy and Welby noted that the investment was "very embarrassing" for the Church.[59] Welby and the Church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group were unaware of their investment in Wonga.

Welby also said that the Ethical Investment Advisory Group ought to reconsider rules which allow investment in companies that make up to 25% of their income from gambling, alcohol or high-interest lending.[57]

Food banks

Justin Welby is concerned about increasing need for food banks which would have been “unthinkable” a decade ago. Welby called the plight of hungry poor people shocking because he did not expect that in the UK.[60] Welby disagrees strongly with David Anthony Freud, Baron Freud, currently Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions because Welby believes the UK government cuts to benefits have caused or contributed to the surge in food banks. Welby cites Church of England investigation showing Social services referred 35% of Durham residents who use food banks when benefits they were entitled to were not paid. Welby stated,

Before Christmas 2013 Welby urged people to give 10% of what they spend at Christmas to food banks.[63][64]

Modern slavery

Welby condemns

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Rupert Hoare
Dean of Liverpool
Succeeded by
Pete Wilcox
Preceded by
Tom Wright
Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by
Paul Butler
Preceded by
Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
Order of precedence in England and Wales
Preceded by
Prince Michael of Kent
as Archbishop of Canterbury
Succeeded by
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
as Lord Chancellor
  • , featuring Welby's comments on the Archbishop of Canterbury's (Rowan Williams) views about Sharia law
  • Who's Who article about Welby being featured in Daily Telegraph
  • , featuring Welby's comments on "Reinventing the cross" as part of his ministry at Coventry Cathedral
  • , House of Lords debate regarding Nigeria. Welby was part of a team researching the ethics of the situation

External links

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  15. ^ HTB Leadship Conference interview with Justin Welby Interview with Nicky Gumbel
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  19. ^ Moreton, Cole (11 November 2012), "Archbishop of Canterbury: 'You have no future in the Church'", Sunday Telegraph
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  32. ^ Gledhill, Ruth (31 January 2013) "Welby: my application for Canterbury was a joke", The Times
  33. ^ Number 10 – Privy Council appointment Accessed 5 February 2013
  34. ^ a b Orders in Council – 12 February 2013
  35. ^ Orders in Council – 13 March 2013
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  37. ^ Church of England calendar
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  43. ^ Women bishops: Archbishop Justin's statement
  44. ^ Archbishop's Presidential Address to the General Synod
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  65. ^ Archbishop of Canterbury joins world faith leaders in pledge to end slavery
  66. ^ Statement from Archbishop Justin on Iraq
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Arms of Justin Welby
(not applicable to prelates)
Sable a Fess between three Fleurs-de-lys Argent
Per ignem per gladium


  • Justin Welby (1956–1992)
  • The Revd Justin Welby (1992–2002)
  • The Revd Canon Justin Welby (2002–2007)
  • The Very Revd Justin Welby (2007–2011)
  • The Rt Revd Justin Welby (personal: 2011–2013)
  • The Lord Bishop of Durham (office: 2011–2013)
  • The Most Revd Justin Welby (personal: 4–12 February 2013)[34]
  • His Grace The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (office: 4 February 2013 – present)
  • The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby (personal: 12 February 2013 – present)


Welby is a French speaker and Francophile, having lived and worked in France.[75] An announcement about his appointment as Bishop of Durham listed his hobbies as "most things French and sailing".[75][77]

He acknowledges his privileged education and upbringing, and has been praised for sending his own children to local state schools.[76]

Welby is married to Caroline (née Eaton) and they have had six children. In 1983, their seven-month-old daughter, Johanna, died in a car crash in France.[2] Welby later explained, "It was a very dark time for my wife Caroline and myself, but in a strange way it actually brought us closer to God."[74] Welby established a special day for bereaved parents in Coventry Cathedral. There is now an annual service commemorating the lives of children who have died. A book with the names of lost children is on display in the cathedral and anyone who has lost a child under any circumstances can ask for their child's name to be added to the book.[75]

Personal life

Welby sees problems with special services of blessing for same sex couples.

Welby affirms the Church of England's opposition to same-sex marriage,[70] but at his first press conference spoke out strongly against homophobia and stated that he is "always averse to the language of exclusion, when what we are called to is to love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us." He also said "I know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) communities, and examine my own thinking prayerfully and carefully."[71] Prior to his enthronement he stated that he did not have doubts about the church's policy in opposing same-sex marriages but remained "challenged as to how we respond to it". "You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship", he said, adding that he had "particular friends where I recognise that and am deeply challenged by it".[72]

In March 2013, Welby stated that "My understanding of sexual ethics has been that, regardless of whether it's gay or straight, sex outside marriage is wrong."[67][68] He reiterated this belief again later in 2013, further noting that "To abandon the ideal simply because it’s difficult to achieve is ridiculous.”[69]

Sexuality and same-sex marriage

Welby is concerned that Christians are persecuted in some parts of the world, notably in the Middle East and Welby fears some risk their lives going to church.[50] Welby also noted that Christians and other religious minorities were made to suffer terribly and were killed in Iraq, which violates article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. People should document human rights violation to enable future prosecutions and to destroy the culture where those responsible expect no adverse consequences. Welby noted Christians and other minorities face persecution for their faith in many areas worldwide, he cited Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic among others. Welby urged the United Kingdom to open doors to refugees.[66] Pope Francis also spoke out about Religious persecution.

Persecution of Christians


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