I First Learnt About God & Salvation in Africa: Archbishop Justin Welby

The Most Revd Arch. made the disclosure upon his visit to Kiburu Boys Secondary School, a school he taught at in central Kenya 46 years ago.

I First Learnt About God & Salvation in Africa: Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop Justin Welby: Archbishop of Canterbury Organisation/Photo Credit

The irony of life…

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It is universally accepted that Christianity spread through Africa through colonialism and to this day, the Christian faith occupies a complicated, often racialised place in the history of blacks all over the globe because of how it was abused by white colonists and slave traders to subjugate blacks.

Nonetheless, the world was given a bit of a wait-a-minute moment last week when the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the principal leader of the Church of England and the head primus inter pares of the worldwide Anglican Communion revealed that he first learnt of God and salvation in the… “heart of darkness”… Africa, Kenya to be precise.

The Most Revd Arch. made the disclosure upon his visit to Kiburu Boys Secondary School, a school he taught at in central Kenya 46 years ago. He was in the East Africa nation to meet Anglican Church bishops and Kenyan politicians, among them the Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka.

On Thursday, he visited the house he used to live in as a teacher and recorded a video message to his followers on Twitter:

According to his official website, Revd Welby was ordained in 1992 after an 11-year career in the oil industry. He spent his first 15 years serving in Coventry diocese, often in places of significant deprivation.

In 2002 he was made a Canon of Coventry Cathedral, where he jointly led its international reconciliation work. During this time he worked extensively in Africa and the Middle East. Archbishop Justin has had a passion for reconciliation and peace-making ever since.

He was Dean of Liverpool Cathedral from 2007 to 2011 and Bishop of Durham from 2011 to 2012, before being announced as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury in late 2012.

On 21st March 2013, he was installed as Archbishop of Canterbury in a service at Canterbury Cathedral.

In his sermon, he said: “There is every possible reason for optimism about the future of Christian faith in our world and in this country.”

The present environmental and economic challenges, and those of human development and global poverty, “can only be faced with extraordinary Christ-liberated courage”.

Setting out a vision for the church, he said: “The church transforms society when it takes the risks of renewal in prayer, of reconciliation and of confident declaration of the good news of Jesus Christ.”

On taking office, Archbishop Justin announced three personal priorities for his ministry.

The first is a renewal of prayer and Religious life throughout the church.

The second is seeking reconciliation within the church, and supporting the Church in its role as a peacemaker.

The third is encouraging every Christian to share their faith and see themselves as a witness to Jesus Christ.

These priorities are central to everything the Archbishop does.

During his first 18 months in office, Archbishop Justin visited every province of the Anglican Communion – joined by his wife, Caroline – an extraordinary personal pilgrimage that involved 96 days of travel.

He continues to make visits around the Anglican Communion, particularly to encourage Anglicans in places of conflict who are pursuing peace and reconciliation.

In 2017, Archbishop Justin was invited to join UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation – the only faith leader to be on the panel.

Since 2013, Archbishop Justin has made regular visits to dioceses around the southern province of the Church of England. He has taken part in everything from baptisms to baking competitions, visited schools and food banks and prayed with people in skate parks, shopping centres and dozens of churches.


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