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Dragon Interview: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

Published on: 25 Sep, 2021
Updated on: 30 Sep, 2021

The Archbishop of Canterbury facing the “Big Questions” on the G Live stage today

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, visited Guildford today (September 25) as part of his Big Questions tour of Surrey, taking place this weekend.

Justin Welby, the Church of England’s senior bishop and the symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion

The purpose of his visit was evangelical. He said: “It is a core part of the Christian faith and of being an archbishop to give the good news of Jesus Christ.”

An audience of several hundred attended the free event at G-Live to hear the Archbishop speak about his own journey of faith through his pre-church career in the oil industry in Africa and the impact of finding out that the man he had thought was his father was not.

He told the audience that this experience helped him realise it was his relationship with God that gives him his identity and made him the person he is.

The Most Revd Justin Welby then took questions from the audience electronically via smartphone on a range of topics. A popular topic raised was the issue of so few young people attending church. The archbishop acknowledged that the church had not always appeared welcoming to young people and that youngsters felt, wrongly in his view, that church was there to stop them having fun.

See Hugh Coakley’s Dragon interview with the Archbishop here:

Another popular and controversial topic raised by the audience was how to make the LGBTQ+ community feel comfortable about going to church. Archbishop Welby explained that the church had to stop judging people and to stop treating LGBTQ+ people as one collective group. He said they had the be treated as individuals and opinions respected on all sides.

When asked about expressing views on political matters, the archbishop said the church doesn’t do party politics but, as part of the Establishment, with seats in the House of Lords, it had a duty to speak up on important moral issues.

He explained that when parishes were witnessing a direct connection between the introduction of Universal Credit and foodbank use doubling or even tripling, the church had been right to speak out on this topic.

Before all of the questions posed as the Archbishop had to move on to his next Big Questions event in Dorking.

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Responses to Dragon Interview: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

  1. Sam Peters Reply

    September 27, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Glad to see the continued CofE investment in fossil fuels was raised by several people at some of these local events too.

    If the church is going to claim moral leadership then it should lead by example, yet it still has tens of millions of pounds invested in fossil fuels and while it has divested some of this in recent years, it has made clear this divestment has been purely based on medium- and long-term risk, rather than an ethical or moral decision.

    I was disappointed that the questions raised were largely ignored and those answered were only touched on in a very broad strokes, non-committal way.

    Sam Peters is a spokesperson for the local Green Party

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