Justin Welby confirmed as Archbishop of Canterbury

By Matthew Bates Friday 09 November 2012 Updated: 12/11 12:18

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FORMER Coventry Cathedral canon Justin Welby has been officially named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

The 56-year-old, who was an oil executive before answering a calling from God, was unveiled at a press conference at Lambeth Palace this morning (Friday).

The Right Reverend Welby said his previous experiences, including being under the stewardship of former Bishop of Coventry Colin Bennetts, had served him well. He also mentioned his role as rector of Southam, near Leamington, where he admitted to "making many mistakes".

Bishop of Coventry Christopher Cocksworth had also been on the Crown Nominations Commission shortlist.

He congratulated Mr Welby on the appointment and said he would bring "great energy and wide experience" to the role.

Acting Dean of Coventry, the Revd Canon Tim Pullen, added he was an "exceptionally gifted leader" but warned significant challenges lay ahead.

Mr Welby was informed of the job offer last week before being handed a letter outside Portcullis House, in Westminster, on Monday confirming the news.

He said his first reaction was 'oh no' before being overwhelmed and surprised. He had emerged as favourite this week after a wave of bets were placed on him taking the position.

"It is a time for optimism and faith in the church," he said.

"But I know we are facing issues.

"It is a certainty we will get things wrong but we will also get much right and have done so already."

He paid tribute to the thousands of church volunteers who "gave 22 million hours of voluntary service outside of the church every month".

And he said current Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, was one of the greatest to ever hold the role.

Mr Welby said he would continue in his role as Bishop of Durham until Dr Williams steps down next month.

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