This column first appeared in the Mar. 2013 issue of Anglican Journal.
England for the enthronement-or, as we in Canada say, “the seating”-of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, which will take place on March 21. On that day in our calendar of holy men and women, we commemorate the life and labours of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, the chief architect of the principle of common prayer in the language of the people.
Justin Welby will be the 105th servant of God to occupy the chair of Augustine, who arrived in England in 597 AD.
As Welby will be enthroned as Archbishop of the diocese of Canterbury and Primate of All England, bishops, clergy and laity from across the United Kingdom will be present. As he is one of the instruments of our Communion worldwide, the primates and other dignitaries from the member churches will be there. Leaders of many other churches and representatives of major world religions will also attend.
Occasions such as this remind us of our deep roots in the faith and the continuity of the church through time. They remind us of our rich heritage, our common vocation and the bonds of affection by which we are drawn together in the service of the gospel, though in very diverse missional contexts.
As I represent our beloved church at this historic “seating,” I will carry our very best wishes for the new archbishop and the pledge of our prayers. In all the joys and burdens of the ministry entrusted to him, may he know the dew of God’s freshly fallen grace, day by day.
Archbishop Fred Hiltz is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.