Archbishop of Canterbury appoints reconciliation aide

(Photo: Coventry Cathedral)Canon David Porter of Coverntry, England. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced on Feb. 18, 2013 Porter is to be reconciliation director at Lambeth Palace.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury is preparing for reconciliation talks about "deeply held differences" within the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion by appointing an aide to that will make it a priority.

The Rev. Justin Welby announced on Tuesday he has filled the position of director of reconciliation at Lambeth Palace with Canon David Porter.

While the role will allow the church to help transform violent conflicts around the world Porter's initial focus will be to support "creative ways for renewing conversations and relationships around deeply held differences" within the church and the communion.

"Conflict is an ever present reality both in the Church and wider society," said the Rev. Welby. "Christians have been at the center of reconciliation throughout history. We may not have always handled our own conflicts wisely, but it is essential that we work towards demonstrating ways of reducing destructive conflict in our world - and also to setting an example of how to manage conflict within the Church."

Canon Porter has previously served on the Northern Ireland Civic Forum and the North Ireland Community Relations Council.

From 2008 he has headed the reconciliation ministry at Coventry Cathedral, England. The cathedral property includes the ruins of an earlier cathedral destroyed during World War II. Its reconciliation ministry began with a commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible.

The archbishop's office describes Porter as an experienced community relations activist, peacebuilding practitioner and community theologian with thirty years experience in regional, national and international faith based organizations.

Canon Porter said it was a privilege to take on the responsibility.

"How we live with our deepest differences both within the Church and our increasingly fractured world, is one of the major challenges to the credibility of Christianity as good news," he said.

"It is a privilege to be asked to take on this responsibility for Archbishop Justin and I look forward to working with him in serving the Church in making reconciliation and peacebuilding a theological and practical priority in its life and witness," he added.

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