This week, The Episcopal Church celebrated the feast day of William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1942-1944. William was the son of Frederick Temple who had served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1896-1902. Despite his Archbishop father, William was originally refused ordination by the Bishop of London for not professing belief in the Virgin birth or bodily resurrection, two views he came to hold as he saw both the truth and the importance of the doctrine of the Incarnation. The video above features the wartime preaching of Archbishop Temple the younger during World War II as he sought to bring a sense of peace to a wartorn England. He sounds a little more English-schoolboy-like than I imagined, but the video is a glimpse into his leadership in time of war.
This week, the Anglican Communion also learned that the Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, will become the successor to the two Temples and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Welby is an evangelical who once worked in the oil industry before getting active at Holy Trinity, Brompton (HTB), as that church’s ALPHA Course went global. This means that the new Archbishop was formed at “HTB” which talks about a “mission-shaped church” and “fresh expressions” and now counts one of its most popular concepts as “cafe theology” – discussing belief in your local Starbucks.
What it means to have the evangelical Bishop Welby heading the Anglican Communion at this time, no one but God yet knows. For now, what comes next is a matter for prayer. For whether God is reconciling the world to God’s own self is a given, but the role the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church plays in that divine action remains an open question.