It’s not official, but…

The English press is calling it for Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, who is expected to be named Archbishop of Canterbury to succeed Rowan Williams.

Some background info on his family here. His father was a bootlegger in Prohibition Era America; friend of the Kennedys, dated Vanessa Redgrave, and married Churchill’s secretary.

After a career in business as an oil executive, Welby studied theology at Durham and became a priest, ultimately rising to Dean of Liverpool Cathedral before becoming Bishop of Durham last year. The English press talk about his “meteoric” rise, but I doubt it’s that out of sync with some second-career clergy in the Episcopal Church (the Presiding Bishop, for example).

Rowan Williams quoted Barth in his advice to the next ABC–“preach with a bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.” So twentieth-century, don’t you think? In fact, Bishop Welby is on twitter: @Bishopofdurham

I’m sure we’ll get lots of commentary tomorrow. My twitter feed suggests progressive Episcopalians may have considerable angst about what this might bode for the Anglican Communion. Gasp! He’s an Evangelical! (and they’ve just been celebrating four more years of Obama!). I remember the jubilation when Williams’ appointment was announced, and look how that turned out.

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