Two inaugurations/enthronements that will usher in a new era for the Church.

pope-francis-archbishop-of-canterbury-justin-welbyI don’t think we can underestimate how much last weeks events will shape the church for the considerable future. Within the last seven days we have seen the new leaders of the worlds two largest sections of Christianity inaugurated, both showing considerable promise for the future of the their respective churches; catholicism, and anglicanism.

Anglicanism and Catholicism have a very unique, privileged, special relationship. Like any relationship it’s had its good and bad times, but now more than ever there seems to be an awakening in both sects of the Christian Church as a whole. Pope Francis as the leader of the Catholic church has already been riding a different style; that of service, simplicity and humility. A pope whose concern is the welfare of all people, both rich and poor. The ‘Jesus for the poor’ idea, that so many of us theologians talk about is very apparent in his teaching, and I’m expectant that we will see a lot more of this in time to come. Of course, this will be quite a big change in a style of worship that has largely been unchanged, especially where the pope is concerned. Enough of the popemobile, enough of fine clothing, gleaming crosses and first class service. This pope is willing to get his hands dirty, it seems. And dirty they will get as he tackles some of the biggest problems the church has had to face in recent times.

Archbishop Justin was enthroned the other day at Canterbury Cathedral. Again, people were very surprised at the way the service was conducted. An inspirational preach, African dancer/drummer people changing the whole atmosphere of the service at one point and the rousing singing of “In Christ Alone”. In an interview with Huw Edwards, Archbishop Justin focussed on his desire to see the Church reconciled, both in terms of unity and also to the truth of the Gospel. He also said that he’s happy to be called an “Evangelical”.

Of course, we wont really know what these two men will or wont bring to their office and the changes that will occur in the Church for some time. But I think I can say that I’m very hopefully and excited about what God may do whilst Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin are in office. This matters not just to Anglicans and Catholics, but to the whole Church. These two people are, whether you like it or not, seen as the spokesmen for the Christian faith in a very big way. Many of you who read this blog may have been going around picking up the pieces after previous archbishops and popes, and it may be understandable that you have negative feelings towards Catholicism and Anglicanism.

However, there is cause for great optimism. In a world where people demand more tolerance and pluralistic views, they also want to know what people think. They want people to have opinions, largely for two reasons…

1. Either they want to recruit another like-minded thinker onto their bandwagon


2. They want to slam the individual for thinking differently from them.

Both Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin have made some of their views quite clear already. What I particularly love about the recent interviews is that despite the BBC’s (and other news corporations) attempts to water down the words of the Pope or Archbishop, they have responded with great conviction, but also with humility and gentleness.

It’s strong leaders that we need in the church. Not woolly liberals who just like to paint over the cracks. Praise God for leaders of the Church who are willing to get hands dirty for the sake of the Kingdom in such a Jesus fashion.

Very much looking forward to the future – let’s hope, by God’s grace, that it turns out my hunch is correct. If I and many of us are right, we could be in for a golden age for the Church, despite the problems we may be facing at the present time. Let’s wait and see…


Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @