The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the head of the Church of England, recently learned that his father was not really his father, that he was the product of an affair between his mother and Winston Churchill’s private secretary. What’s notable, though, says Eric Metaxis in a Breakpoint commentary, is how Welby took this potentially traumatic news.
From Eric Metaxis, Our Identity is in Christ: The Story of Archbishop Justin Welby, Breakpoint:
By any reasonable standard, Justin Welby’s life story is a compelling one. Born into what he describes as a “dysfunctional family” with two alcoholic parents, he overcame those obstacles to become a successful executive in the oil industry.Then, at age 33, he left it all behind to follow God’s calling to become a priest in the Church of England. This “second act” culminated three years ago when he was named the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.Until recently, he had no reason to doubt that Gavin Welby, who died in 1977, was his father. His parents’ marriage had ended when he was only three years old, and after the divorce young Justin was placed in his father’s custody—although like many Englishmen of his age and social class, he spent most of his childhood away at boarding schools, including the legendary Eton.But there were those who had their doubts about the identity of Justin’s father. They noticed the strong resemblance between young Justin Welby and Sir Anthony Montague Brown, Winston Churchill’s private secretary. What’s more, Welby’s mother worked alongside Brown up until her marriage to Gavin Welby in 1955.So, to put this matter to rest once and for all, rather recently the Archbishop agreed to a DNA test, and the results shocked both him and his mother. Anthony Montague Brown, not Gavin Welby, was the Archbishop’s father. Justin Welby was the result of a brief affair his mother had with Brown just before she eloped with Gavin Welby.If that were all there is to the story, I wouldn’t be talking about it here on BreakPoint. What makes the story worthy of your attention was the Archbishop’s response.While calling the DNA results “a complete surprise,” Welby added that, “There is no existential crisis and no resentment against anyone . . . My identity is founded in who I am in Christ.”