During a time when all figures in the public eye are being watched for their travel habits, the Archbishop of Canterbury has taken it upon himself to go on a little 8,000-mile detour on his way to Iceland. This little detour was to make a pit stop in Kenya.
The Archbishop, Justin Welby, arrived in Kenya on Sunday night. It was there that he planned to give a sermon at the All Saints Cathedral. According to Lambeth Palace, Justin decided to make this trip after hearing about the Westgate Center attack that happened in Kenya.
The Westgate Center was attacked on September 21. During this attack, nearly 70 people died. It has been said that the raid was carried out by al-Shabab militants. Many tourists visiting Kenya were at the Westgate Center during the time of the attack.
The main reason Justin is flew to Iceland was to attend a meeting at the Porvoo Communion. This is a meeting that is made up of churches that are mostly located in the northern part of Europe. Although this meeting is very important, Justin found that taking this detour was what God would have wanted.
A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace said that the major aim of this visit for Justin was to encourage the people who are living in Kenya. He also wanted to give his condolences to those who were affected by the Westgate Center attack. Last, he wanted to offer his support to the other bishops in Kenya who have been dealing with this since the beginning. These are trying times after all.
Although Justin flew out of his way to stay in Kenya, he did not spend any Lambeth Palace money than what he had to. In fact, instead of staying in a hotel, the Archbishop of Canterbury stayed with the Archbishop of Eliud Wakbukala at his home.
Of course, this little side trip was not the only reason why the Archbishop of Canterbury has made it into the news as of late. There was also a lot of talk about him not attending the GAFCON 2013 conference. Lambeth Palace said that the Archbishop is not able to attend this meeting because of his planned tripped to Iceland. Not only that, but he also said that he has to baptise Prince George this coming Wednesday and GAFCON runs from Monday to Saturday.
The very first GAFCON was held in 2008. It was first created as a direct response to the appointment of gay women and men as bishops in areas like the United States. The churches say that these areas are spreading “false gospel” and spreading the idea that God gave his blessing to same-sex couples.
Although Justin was invited to participate in GAFCON, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was not. According to the organizers of this meeting, Dr Williams was never forthright enough publicly when condemning the appointment of gay bishops around the world. As a result, he was never invited to GAFCON.