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'Mistrust and suspicion is not holy,' says Archbishop

Thursday 18th April 2013

Speaking at a conference of diocesan lay chairs this weekend, the Archbishop challenged them to “get rid of” suspicion and mistrust in the church

Read about the conference below or listen to Archbishop Justin's lecture

Archbishop Justin said damage caused by the financial crisis in 2008, which has severely undermined trust in society, may take "a generation" to repair.

This negativity has crept into the church, he said, citing last year's synod debate on women bishops as an example. We have a culture where it is assumed that "if one person is in favour of something they must be bitterly against everything else,” he said.

Archbishop Justin with lay clergy in London, 14 April 2013

Archbishop Justin with diocesan lay chairs in London, 14 April 2013

“If we start with mistrust, our capacity to cope with events becomes crippled, inadequate, impossible.”

He added: “And if that’s in your mindset, you need to repent, because your job is to set an example of holiness, and mistrust and suspicion is not holy. It won’t do, any more than it’ll do in me.”

Archbishop Justin also said he felt calls for greater transparency from the church after the synod vote were justified.

'Profound change'

Despite these challenges, the Archbishop said Christians have found themselves facing “profound and exciting change” this year, following the election of Pope Francis.

“This thing about simplicity,” he said, referring to the philosophy of the new Pope. “It has touched a chord. Lack of hierarchy – it’s touched a chord.

“People are now expecting a focus, a clear sense of knowing what something is for – and a certain transparency in the way things work.”


The two-day conference in East London, which was attended by 27 diocesan lay chairs, focused on three challenges for the 5-year period 2011-2015: achieving growth; contributing the common good; and re-imagining ministry.

Looking ahead, Archbishop Justin said his personal priorities for the coming years were threefold: reviving prayer and the religious life; reconciliation which counters ‘tribalism’ and encourages disagreement “in amity, not enmity”; and evangelism to make church growth happen.


What are lay chairs?
Lay chairs are an important part of the diocesan team, bringing the perspective of laity to the strategic planning of the deanery and diocese. Under the leadership of the Bishop and together with the area dean, their task is to further the mission and ministry of the deanery, and to bring the diocese and the wider church to the deanery.

LISTEN: Archbishop Justin speaking to diocesan lay chairs, Sunday 14 April 2013


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