Justin Welby had already left a significant legacy from the first half of his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury. The swift resolution to the inherited crisis of finding a workable settlement in relation to women bishops; the instigation of the Renewal and Reform programme; reorienting the Church’s administration and finances towards mission; the re-estalishment of evangelism as a priority; the prayer initiative around Thy Kingdom Come; and even the personal success of (just about) ‘putting Wonga out of business’—all these have been significant achievements. There have been frustrations and set-backs to. The discussions about sexuality drag on interminably without any sign of resolution or even a fragile peace breaking out in the war of words; and despite Welby’s intensive efforts at building relationships, trust across the Anglican Communion appears to be at an all-time low.
Welby’s latest book, Reimagining Britain, is an ambitious attempt to picture what Britain might look like, in the light of its present situation, its recent past, and the influence of Christian thinking, in a hopeful future. It is full of detailed analysis across an impressive range of areas, and offers much detailed comment in suggestions of issues that need addressing. But I must confess it left me with more questions than answers.