Forward Thinking

'Jewish' Leader Takes Over Anglican Church

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Rev. Justin Welby

Rev. Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, will be enthroned as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury on March 21, 2013. He will be the latest principal leader of the Church of England in a line that goes back more than 1,400 years. Notably, Welby is also most likely the only head of the worldwide Anglican Communion to be descended from Jews.

According to Welby’s biography on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website, his father’s family were German Jewish immigrants who had come to England in the late 19th century to escape anti-Semitism. They apparently, “integrated quickly,” which one could take to mean that they soon converted to Anglicanism.

Welby, 56, will be assuming his new role at a time when the Anglican Church finds itself in an inner struggle on the issue of the consecration of female bishops. The General Synod, the Church legislature, voted on November 20 against allowing women to become bishops.

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