Archbishop Justin Welby Enthronement At Canterbury Cathedral

Jan Leeming

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY - Enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral

Date: 21st March 2013

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY – Enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral

I am so delighted that I was able to attend this ceremony even though I was at the back row of the South Nave and the BBC screens were woefully inadequate. To be fair I suppose they didn’t want them to be intrusive but at the back of the South Nave we had to look at a monitor at the back of the North Nave and you’d have needed Opera glasses to see the activity properly.

That said, it was a memorable, touching and awe inspiring occasion – a couple of times I felt a lump in my throat.

There was almost a half hour of the great and the good processing to the Quire and Trinity Chapel – I couldn’t see too much except the tops of some rather exotic headgear (Greek Orthodox probably) and completely missed the entrance of Prince Charles and Camilla – they are bother small so were not to be seen over the heads in front of me.

Of course, Justin Welby is already Archbishop and the ceremony was to install him in the Diocesan Throne and the Chair of St. Augustine. It was very moving when he knocked three times on the door for entry to the Cathedral.

On entry he was questioned by a beautiful Sri Lankan girl in a Sari – part of the procedure of requesting to know why he seeks entry.

The whole service was very inclusive of Christianity around the world – even to the extent of having African drummers lead the newly enthroned Archbishop towards the Pulpitum Screen. The music simply burst upon us and there were these chaps prancing around wearing only grass skirts. I did see looks of disapproval on some of the older members of the congregation (what am I talking about, I too am an older member) but I thoroughly enjoyed it. After all the Cathedral is used for concerts as varied as African Sanctus, Classical performances and Pop – one of the last being a concert by Jethro Tull which I sadly missed.

There were some interesting moments which I did manage to catch by craning my neck around and looking at the monitor immediately above me. I’m not sure if Prince Charles was deep in contemplation but at one moment he looked as though he had nodded off.

Justin Welby came late to the Ministry and has had a meteoric rise – my humble opinion is that the Church felt it needed someone who combined spirituality with a knowledge of today’s world. He, of course, worked in the Oil Industry for many years so I think he’ll have his feet firmly on the ground. Although Rowan Williams was an incredibly intellectual man, I got the opinion that he wasn’t wordly enough and that is probably why he resigned and went back to the realms of Acadamia. In his Farewell to Canterbury I empathised with him when he made reference to the difficulty of his job and much of what he said and did being taken out of context. He obviously said it in a much more intellectual way but I got the message.

One of the sweetest things and the one I will remember when all else fades was the Archbishop as he processed out of the Cathedral, smiling broadly and giving a little wave in the direction of, I’m sure, his wife and children. It was also a smile of relief – thank goodness this is over and it went without a hitch.

I couldn’t wait to get home and watch the TV programme. The Director (s) and cameramen did a first class job – the fabulous shots of the Cathedral covering the sometimes somewhat lengthy hymns. The only thing I could have done without was the first half hour of Huw Edwards quizzing three people in a small side chapel. It didn’t add much to the occasion and I personally would rather have had that half hour with the organ music and the processions – can’t tell you how colourful and exotic were the personages slowly making their way up the nave, each group preceeded by a Virger with staff of office – most of whom I know from my Sunday duties.

I must admit I wondered where they’d all been housed – I can’t think Canterbury has enough hotels for them all.

I’ve not been able to do my Sunday duty for a month having had this wretched virus which makes you cough every time you speak – for weeks I sounded dreadful and it pained me to talk for longer than a minute or two.

Voice is now virtually back to normal and I can’t wait to get to the Cathedral on Sunday and look at the flowers and everything else I couldn’t see from my place at the back of the nave.

Naturally, no cameras etc. were allowed so I can only show you the front cover of the Order of Service.

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY  - Enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral

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