Archbishop of York to represent Welby at Francis' inauguration

(Photo: Graham Lacdao / The Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral)Archbishop of York, Johan Sentamu (right), with an adviser while Archbishop Justin Welby looks on during his official confirmation ceremony as Archbishop of Canterbury on Feb. 4, 2013.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who has a busy schedule ahead of his own enthronement this week, will not attend the inauguration of Pope Francis in Rome on Tuesday.

Instead the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, will represent the Anglican Communion and the Church of England.

Sentamu and his delegation will have an audience with the new pontiff the following day, the Anglican Communion announced on Monday

Welby is to be enthroned on March 21 at Canterbury Cathedral as the highest cleric in the Church of England where he is also the spiritual head of the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion.

The archbishop has been conducting a prayer pilgrimage in different parts of England ahead of his enthronement.

He will deliver the Good Friday's ' Thought for the Day' on the national broadcaster, BBC Radio, at around 7.45am.

The Anglican Communion has also announced that Welby, a former banker and oil industry executive, will take over from his retired predecessor Rowan Williams as official patron of the the UK's largest Christian-Muslim interfaith organisation.

Speaking after meet the Christian Muslim Forum trustees on 12 February, Welby said, "I'm excited to support the important work of the Christian Muslim Forum, as Christian-Muslim relations is a key global issue which it is vital to get right – and can have tragic consequences if we don't."

He supports the forum's concerns for honest engagement between two different faiths, speaking of "passionate differences without passionate hatred."

The Christian Muslim Forum has just celebrated its seventh anniversary. It has a wide representation of both Muslim and Christian traditions, providing guidance on a range of issues such as inter faith marriage, and mission and evangelism.

Welby's focus on reconciliation meshes with the forum's framework as a peace organization, working to provide pastoral care and guidance in the community, puncturing prejudice and negativity, the Anglican Communion website said.

The forum supports the role of women in faith and recently hosted the first national awards ceremony for Christian and Muslim women, celebrating their contribution to local and national interfaith initiatives. A copy of its The Edge report on women's initiatives was handed to the Archbishop.

Webly favors the ordination of female Anglican priests as bishops.

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra,co-chair of the forum and assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "We are very grateful to Archbishop Justin for meeting with us so early in his ministry and were encouraged by his keen interest in our work."

Bishop Paul Hendricks, forum co-chair who leads the Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark, noted, "Christian-Muslim dialogue is essential. Our work in England can be a role model for Christians and Muslims around the world.

"Archbishop Justin is extremely well-connected with Christian and Muslim leaders in Nigeria and we look forward to continuing to engage with Nigerian communities."

Welby worked for a French oil company Elf Aquitaine before he followed his calling to the priesthood, being ordained in 1993. He was only consecrated as a bishop in 2011.

The official Anglican Communion Delegation for the inauguration includes:

  • His Grace The Archbishop of York, Representing the Archbishop of Canterbury
  • The Revd Canon Jonathan Goodall, The Archbishop of Canterbury's Ecumenical Secretary
  • The Revd Canon David Richardson, The Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome
  • The Rt Revd Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford and Chairman of the Church of England Council for Christian Unity
  • The Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General, The Anglican Communion
  • The Revd Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director for Unity, Faith and Order, Anglican Communion Office
  • Several further Special Guests will also travel to Rome and be received at the Inauguration Mass with the official delegation:
  • Archbishop David Moxon, Anglican Co-Chair of the Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC)
  • Bishop David Hamid, Anglican Co-Chair of the International Anglican–Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM)
  • Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe (Church of England)
  • Bishop Pierre Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe (The Episcopal Church USA)
  • The Revd Malcolm Macnaughton, Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of York
  • Mrs Margie Richardson, The Anglican Centre in Rome
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