‘We’re in Danger of Losing our Salvation’

Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Honourable Justin Welby, delivering a sermon in the Christ Church Parish Church, Barbados
Photo by Lennox Devonish

Making biblical references to slavery, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Honourable Justin Welby, has said that the church must own up to past wrongs in the Caribbean.

“In this part of the world there is the history of the church in the past acting in oppression . It is no use covering that up, pretending it did not happen, making excuses, it is true,” he said.

Welby, who spoke to hundreds of Barbadian Anglican worshippers last Friday night, August 9, during a two-day visit to the island on his way to Latin America, at the same time courted acceptance and understanding by saying the church comprises humans who are not without fault.

This principal leader of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion of some 80 million spread over 165 countries, added, “We cannot forget that every age and every place we live in today the church is human, and humans make terrible mistakes, and do terrible wrongs, but it is still the family of God”.

Describing the church as God’s building, he said, “The church is under construction in the hands of God… and buildings under construction always look a mess”.

He spoke of the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading, with mention of a lost and scattered people suffering politically, economically, culturally, and religiously, but when all hope is gone God answers. “He says I hear you and will save you, and by the way I will also turn the world the other way up, so that those who were slaves will rule and the arrogant rulers will follow all those who were slaves,” Welby said to a packed to overflowing Parish Church of Christ Church.

This prelate is the 105th in a line of succession of over 1,400 years who is enthroned in the name of the Queen or King of England.

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