THE Archbishop of Canterbury today warned of the dangers of abandoning more than 1,000 years of Christianity in Britain as he was enthroned as head of the Church of England.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said advances such as the abolition of slavery, improvements in working conditions in the 19th century and the creation of the NHS had been established as a result of “Christ-liberated courage”.
He warned that modern-day challenges on issues such as the environment, the economy and tackling global poverty could only be faced with “extraordinary Christ-liberated courage”.
“Today we may properly differ on the degrees of state and private responsibility in a healthy society,” he said.
“But if we sever our roots in Christ we abandon the stability which enables good decision-making.
“There can be no final justice, or security, or love, or hope in our society if it is not finally based on rootedness in Christ.”
The Archbishop was speaking as he was enthroned at a service in Canterbury Cathedral attended by more than 2,000 guests including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prime Minister David Cameron.
The event marked the formal start of Mr Welby’s public ministry as leader of the 77-million strong Anglican Communion as well as head of the Church of England.
The colourful ceremony featured Punjabi music, African dancers and drummers and an organ improvisation.
For the first time in history, a female cleric, the Venerable Sheila Watson, Archdeacon of Canterbury, was given the central role of formally enthroning the Archbishop on the diocesan throne in the cathedral – symbolising his appointment as bishop of Canterbury.