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Justin Welby

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The Most Revd and Rt Hon 
Justin Welby
MA(Cantab) BA(Dunelm)
Archbishop of Canterbury
Province Province of Canterbury
Diocese Diocese of Canterbury
Elected 10 January 2013
Enthroned 21 March 2013
Predecessor Rowan Williams
Other posts Bishop of Durham (2011–2013)
Dean of Liverpool (2007–2011)
  • 1992 (deacon)
  • 1993 (priest)
Consecration 28 October 2011
Personal details
Birth name Justin Portal Welby
Born (1956-01-06) 6 January 1956
London, England, UK
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Residence Lambeth Palace, London
The Old Palace, Canterbury
  • Gavin Welby (d. 1977)
  • Jane Williams, Baroness Williams of Elvel
Spouse Caroline Eaton
Children 6 (one died in a car crash in infancy)
  • Writer
  • financier
  • ethicist
  • theologian
Alma mater
Ordination history of Justin Welby
Diaconal ordination
Date of ordination 1992
Priestly ordination
Date of ordination 1993
Episcopal consecration
Date of consecration 28 October 2011

Justin Portal Welby (born 6 January 1956) is a bishop in the Church of England. He is the current Archbishop of Canterbury and former Bishop of Durham.

After attending St Peter's School, Seaford, Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, 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 and was appointed as the Bishop of Durham in 2011.

Welby's theology is reported as representing the evangelical tradition within Anglicanism. 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.

On 9 November 2012, the Prime Minister's office announced Welby's appointment as the next Archbishop of Canterbury. He was formally elected as Archbishop of Canterbury on 10 January 2013 at a ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral and legally took office on 4 February 2013 at a ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral when the Dean of Canterbury confirms to a commission of senior bishops that the College of Canons have elected Welby to become Archbishop of Canterbury. After this ceremony, at which oaths were taken, Welby ceased to be the archbishop-elect and formally became the Archbishop of Canterbury. His public ministry as archbishop, however, begins with his enthronement service in Canterbury Cathedral which is scheduled for 21 March 2013 (which in the calendar of the Church of England is an observance of Thomas Cranmer). The official announcement of Welby's appointment followed much speculation after a meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission in September 2012 to consider contenders for the position.

Early life and education

Welby was born in London, England. His father, known as Gavin Bramhall James Welby, was born Bernard Gavin Weiler, in Ruislip, West London, in 1910, and died in 1977. His mother was Jane Gillian (née Portal). Welby's paternal grandfather was a German Jewish immigrant (Welby did not find out about his grandfather's ancestry until he was an adult).

Welby's parents divorced in 1959, and his mother married Charles Williams in 1975 (when he was elevated to the House of Lords as a life peer in 1985, Charles Williams took the title of Baron Williams of Elvel.) Through his mother, Welby is the great-nephew of a former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister, Rab Butler, later Baron Butler of Saffron Walden; Welby's maternal great-grandfather, Sir Montagu Butler, was the father of Lord Butler and of Welby's grandmother, Iris Butler.

Welby was educated at St Peter's School, Seaford and Eton College and subsequently went to Trinity College, Cambridge where he received a B.A. degree in history and law in 1978.

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.


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

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.” 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.

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.

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." 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.

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.” His election was confirmed at York Minster on 29 September 2011 and he left Liverpool Cathedral on 2 October.

Welby was consecrated as a bishop at York Minster on 28 October 2011 and was enthroned as Bishop of Durham in Durham Cathedral on 26 November 2011. He was introduced to the House of Lords in January 2012, where he sits on the Lords Spiritual bench. He gave his maiden speech on 16 May 2012.

Welby was asked to join the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in 2012. He emerged as a candidate to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury and, on 6 November 2012, the betmakers Betvictor, Ladbrokes and William Hill suspended betting on his being appointed. 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. His Confirmation of Election ceremony to the See of Canterbury occurred at St Paul's Cathedral on 4 February 2013 - on the following day it was announced that Welby would be appointed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom (as all archbishops are); the order for his appointment was made on 12 February and he swore the oath on 13 March. He was enthroned as the Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013.


Welby has said that the Benedictine and Franciscan orders in the Anglican churches, along with Catholic social teaching, have influenced his spiritual formation.

Welby favours Anglican consecration of women bishops.

He opposes the ordination of gay bishops and supports "the Church of England's opposition to same-sex marriage", 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." However, he has stated that he is open to "re-thinking" his views on these matters.

Personal life

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. 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." 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.

He acknowledges the benefits of his privileged education and upbringing, but has sent his own children to local state schools.

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


  • Mr 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 (2011–2013)
  • The Rt Revd The Lord Bishop of Durham (2011-2013)
  • The Most Revd Justin Welby (4–12 February 2013)
  • The Most Revd (or "His Grace") The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (4–12 February 2013)
  • The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby (12 February 2013 – present)
  • The Most Revd and Rt Hon (or "His Grace") The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (12 February 2013 – present)


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