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Ex-oilman Welby named archbishop of Canterbury

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby poses for photographers after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby poses for photographers after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Former Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba reacts after walking round the pitch at half-time during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  Muamba suffered a heart attack and nearly died during a match on March 17, 2012 between Bolton and Tottenham at White Hart Lane.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Former Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba reacts after walking round the pitch at half-time during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. Muamba suffered a heart attack and nearly died during a match on March 17, 2012 between Bolton and Tottenham at White Hart Lane. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby points to take a question from a journalist during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby points to take a question from a journalist during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby points to take a question from a journalist during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby points to take a question from a journalist during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, right, celebrates scoring his second goal with Tom Carroll, left, and Gareth Bale during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, right, celebrates scoring his second goal with Tom Carroll, left, and Gareth Bale during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby speaks during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby speaks during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby speaks during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby speaks during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, second left, celebrates scoring his hat-trick goal with Kyle Walker during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, second left, celebrates scoring his hat-trick goal with Kyle Walker during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby poses for photographers after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby poses for photographers after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Tottenham's Jermain Defoe competes for the ball with NK Maribor's Zeljko Filipovic during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Tottenham's Jermain Defoe competes for the ball with NK Maribor's Zeljko Filipovic during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Tottenham's Jermain Defoe competes for the ball with NK Maribor's Zeljko Filipovic during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Tottenham's Jermain Defoe competes for the ball with NK Maribor's Zeljko Filipovic during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby, right, poses for photographers with his wife Caroline after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.  The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby, right, poses for photographers with his wife Caroline after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby, right, poses for photographers with his wife Caroline after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.  The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby, right, poses for photographers with his wife Caroline after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2011 file photo, the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby. The next archbishop of Canterbury will be officially introduced Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 with the expectation that the new leader of the world’s Anglicans will be former oil company executive Jason Welby. (AP Photo/PA, Owen Humphreys, File) UNITED KINGDOM OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE

    FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2011 file photo, the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby. The next archbishop of Canterbury will be officially introduced Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 with the expectation that the new leader of the world’s Anglicans will be former oil company executive Jason Welby. (AP Photo/PA, Owen Humphreys, File) UNITED KINGDOM OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby poses for photographers after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby poses for photographers after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby poses for photographers after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Former Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba reacts after walking round the pitch at half-time during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  Muamba suffered a heart attack and nearly died during a match on March 17, 2012 between Bolton and Tottenham at White Hart Lane.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby points to take a question from a journalist during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby points to take a question from a journalist during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, right, celebrates scoring his second goal with Tom Carroll, left, and Gareth Bale during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby speaks during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby speaks during a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Tottenham's Jermain Defoe, second left, celebrates scoring his hat-trick goal with Kyle Walker during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby poses for photographers after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Tottenham's Jermain Defoe competes for the ball with NK Maribor's Zeljko Filipovic during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Tottenham's Jermain Defoe competes for the ball with NK Maribor's Zeljko Filipovic during the Europa League Group J soccer match between Tottenham and NK Maribor at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby, right, poses for photographers with his wife Caroline after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.  The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby, right, poses for photographers with his wife Caroline after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.  The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
  • FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2011 file photo, the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Justin Welby. The next archbishop of Canterbury will be officially introduced Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 with the expectation that the new leader of the world’s Anglicans will be former oil company executive Jason Welby. (AP Photo/PA, Owen Humphreys, File) UNITED KINGDOM OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE
  • Britain's bishop of Durham Justin Welby poses for photographers after a news conference following the announcement he will become the next archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace in London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. The former oil executive with experience in conflict resolution has been chosen to lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and their place in the church. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron announced Friday that Justin Welby, 56, a fast-rising priest with only a year's experience as a bishop, had been picked to succeed Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON — How will Justin Welby lead the world’s Anglicans and heal their deep divisions? Even he is not sure yet.

Welby generated high hopes but few clear expectations Friday as British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the 56-year-old former oil executive was being promoted to archbishop of Canterbury after only a year’s experience as a bishop.

“We don’t know much about him and there are very few expectations because he has been a bishop for such a short time,” said Paul Handley, managing editor of the Church Times newspaper.

But, he said, initial signs were “very encouraging and impressive.”

Welby, appointed last year as bishop of Durham in northeastern England, worked for 11 years in the oil industry, rising to treasurer of Enterprise Oil before deciding he was called to the priesthood.

A skilled mediator who has worked to resolve conflicts in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, he will lead a global Anglican Communion riven by sharply divided views on gay people and the place of women in the church.

As the 105th holder of a post that stretches back to the 6th century, Welby takes over after Rowan Williams retires in December.

Welby said he felt privileged and astonished to be chosen to lead the church at “a time of spiritual hunger.”

“It’s something I never expected,” Welby told reporters, saying he had been “overwhelmed and surprised” to be offered the job.

Welby declined to take questions about the contentious issues of female bishops and the church’s attitude toward homosexuals and said “I don’t have a detailed plan” for promoting growth in the church.

Reaction to his appointment was positive.

Jonathan Gledhill, bishop of Lichfield, called the appointment “daring and imaginative.”

“Everybody seems to like him, those who know him,” said Stephen Parkinson, U.K. director of the traditionalist group Forward in Faith.

The Rev. Bob Callaghan of Inclusive Church, which campaigns against discrimination based on sexuality or gender, said Welby’s appointment was “quite a brave statement by the church: We’ll have something fresh and new and see where it goes.”

Rod Thomas, chairman of the conservative evangelical group Reform, said Welby “has great credibility as a mediator and a friend of Africa, so we will be praying” that he can heal some of the splits in the Anglican Communion.

Women and the Church, which has campaigned for female bishops, said it was encouraged that Welby had worked with women as equals in the business world.

Welby supports the ordination of women as bishops, and indicated that his thinking on legally defining same-sex unions as “marriage” — which he and other bishops have opposed — was evolving.

— Associated Press

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