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Advice For The New Archbishop Of Canterbury

If it is true that Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, is to be the new ABC, then I wonder whether he will heed the advice that Rowan Williams is offering his successor (as reported in the same article):

Speaking in Auckland yesterday, at what aides said would be his final press conference, he was asked for advice for his successor.

Quoting the theologian Karl Barth, he said that the new Archbishop should preach “with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other”.

He said that it was vital that whoever is named must be able to make his message relevant to modern life and “like” reading newspapers.

“You have to be cross-referencing all the time and saying, ‘How does the vision of humanity and community in the Bible map onto these issues of poverty, privation, violence and conflict?’

“And you have to use what you read in the newspaper to prompt and direct the questions that you put to the Bible: ‘Where is this going to help me?’

“So I think somebody who likes reading the Bible and likes reading newspapers would be a good start.”

Valuable as this is, I just wonder whether ‘newspaper’ ought to be augmented with ‘social media’. The new Archbishop enters a world where communications are faster than ever, and social media reporting and campaigning (whatever the doubts about accuracy) has such a rapid effect upon events, that he will need to be strongly aware of that, too. Perhaps the ABC needs not only a press office but a rapid response social media office.

That said, who am I to advise? And perhaps it would be good to heed the thoughts of Adrian Chatfield on Twitter, who tweeted,

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