All change at the top for Easter

It has been said over the past weeks that waiting for the spiritual leader of a Church to come along is like waiting for a poorly timetabled bus.

Arun Arora: 'What joins the Archbishop and Pope Francis is their desire for risk-takin in proclaiming a Gospel message.' (Credit: David Tett)
Arun Arora: 'What joins the Archbishop and Pope Francis is their desire for risk-takin in proclaiming a Gospel message.' (Credit: David Tett)

You wait for a decade or so and then two come along at once. Consequently it has been a good couple of weeks in the national and international media for the Church of England and our cousins in Rome. Pope Francis has shown the PR power of humility. This man of the poor caught the media's attention with his simplicity and authenticity. The reports from BBC journalists who attended his first press conference were of joy and applause as the 5,000 journalists were fed with his reflection on how he chose his Papal name after St Francis of Assisi: 'The man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation.'

Meanwhile, Archbishop Justin Welby was enthroned at Canterbury in a reminder that whatever its failings, the Church of England can still do good theatre.

Greeted at the entrance to the cathedral by 17-year-old Evangeline Kanagasooriam, the Archbishop was asked three questions. Why he had come? Why had he been sent? How had he come among the gathering? Welby responded by talking about seeking grace, proclaiming the love of Christ and saying that he had come 'knowing nothing except Jesus Christ'.

What joins these two men together is their desire for risk-taking in presenting and proclaiming a Gospel message. Not for them an approach cowed or set back by well-publicised difficulties in their Churches.

Rather as Pope Francis said: 'If I had to choose between a wounded Church that goes out on to the streets and a sick, withdrawn Church, I would definitely choose the first one.'

In his enthronement sermon, the Archbishop took up the same theme, recalling Jesus' words to his disciples: '"Take heart, it is I, do not be afraid" ... Our response to these words sets the pattern of our lives, for the Church, for the whole of society.'

This Easter the Church of England ran a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #EverythingChanges.

At a time of year for new beginnings, things have certainly got off to a bright start.

Arun Arora is director of comms for the Church of England

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