Archbishop (and Pope) installed!

You probably heard about the recent election of Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, but that event so overshadowed a second big event, you may not have heard that only 2 days after Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome, Rev. Justin Welby (whose more overtly political election took quite a bit longer) was installed as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. 

It is generally understood that Roman Catholicism is the largest branch of Christianity with 1 Billion members, and Anglicanism the third largest branch (after Easter Orthodoxy) with 80 million Anglicans around the world today.  Methodism (with 60-70 million 'Wesleyan' Christians around the world) has close ties to Anglicanism going back to our origins (John and Charles Wesley, and many other early Methodist leaders including our first Bishop Thomas Coke, were all Anglican priests) and in some places (notably in the UK) the Methodists and Anglicans are actively working on "reunion" schemes.  The final hymn in Welby's installation service was even a Charles Wesley hymn. 

Archbishop Justin takes the helm as Anglicanism is in a real crisis.  Some of the other archbishops around the world have declared themselves to be in impaired or broken communion with other Anglicans (mostly in reponse to US and Canadian innovations in allowing practicing gay bishops and same-sex 'weddings').  In the US the Anglican Church in North America has been established as a more orthodox alternative to the Episcopal Church and has already been recognized as a legitimate part of Anglicanism by about half of the Anglican Communion (but not by Canterbury or the Church of England). 

Sadly, these two US churches are now involved in property disputes in the secular courts.  It is an interesting side note that the chapter in the Bible that forbids Christians from taking one another to court - 1 Cor. 6 - also warns against same-sex practice as incompatible with living under the Lordship of the God who created us male and female.     

My own sense of what needs to be done is no doubt at least as short-sighted, biased, and wrong-headed as everyone else's, but I will be praying that Archbishop Welby - known to be a moderately-conservative evangelical with lots of leadership and reconciliation experience - will bring the kind of decisive action that Anglicanism needs to recenter upon the Lord and his Word and move forward in a mission that is thoroughly built upon the Bible as wisely interpretted by the Great Tradition across the ages.

So, in case you missed it, I am happy to present videos featuring (selections from) these two momentous installations.  First that of the new Anglican Archbishop on March 21 (the feast of St. Benedict and of Thomas Cranmer).  That date is quite appropriate since St. Augustine the first Archbishop of Canterbury was a Benedictine monk, and Thomas Cranmer the great "Protestant Reformer" Archbishop of Canterbury who compiled the Book of Common Prayer during the Reformation Era...

And then the inaugural mass of Francis, the new Roman Catholic Pope (on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and Mary).  As in Texas, they do everything "big" in Rome.

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