Changes in political leadership were not the only leadership shifts occurring in the global community in November. Two new Christian leaders were chosen.
A new Coptic Christian pope was chosen at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, in a televised service that showed a blindfolded boy who picked a name written in Arabic out of a crystal bowl.
Unlike Pope Shenouda III, who died earlier this year and had had a political alliance with former President Mubarak, Pope Tawadros II said he would change the church’s course from politics.
“The most important thing is for the church to go back and live consistently within the spiritual boundaries because this is its main work, spiritual work,” said Tawadros.
He spoke for the Coptic Church’s integration into Egyptian society and the need for Christians to live with Muslims.
Three thousand miles away in London on the same week was the announcement that the 77-million Anglican Communion would have a new archbishop.
Queen Elizabeth appointed Bishop Justin Welby the next Archbishop of Canterbury, succeeding the retiring Rowan Williams, reported BBC News.
A member of “the evangelical wing” of the Anglican Communion and aligned with “traditional interpretations of the Bible,” Welby is a former oil executive who left business for theology and was ordained in 1992.
Welby was Williams’ envoy to Nigeria, seeking to encourage positive engagement between Christians and Muslims.
The Independent reported that Welby “narrowly avoided being shot while on a mission to northern Nigeria to report on attacks on Christians.”
A Guardian newspaper editorial said Welby was “doctrinaire in his doctrine” and “instinctively pragmatic in temporal matters.”
Welby is 56 years old; Tawadros is 59.