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Archbishop warns MPs not to rush Syria decision

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned MPs not to rush their decision on whether to vote for military intervention in the Syria conflict.

Ahead of tomorrow's early return to Parliament, the Most Rev Justin Welby said he feared the possible consequences of intervention, saying they were "beyond description and horrible".

The Most Rev. Justin Welby has warned MPs not to rush their decision on Syria. Credit: ITV Meridian

He told the Daily Telegraph: "I have had a lot of conversations with people in the region.

"I think the overwhelming sense is of a really moving and terrible sense of fear about what might come out of, what might be happening in the next few weeks - not predicated on people doing one thing or people doing another, just a sense that this a terribly, terribly dangerous time."

However, the Archbishop acknowledged that the Government was better informed than he was, making clear that he had no sense that politicians were "slavering" to "unleash the dogs of war."

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Ex-oil executive Archbishop was on banking commission

  • The Most Rev Justin Welby read law and history at Trinity College, Cambridge and began his career in the oil industry based in Paris and London, where he worked on West African - mainly Nigerian - and North Sea projects.
  • He became a group treasurer in a company called Enterprise Oil, before resigning in 1987 after 11 years in the industry to train for the Anglican priesthood.
  • He has also served on the parliamentary Banking Standards Commission.

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Politicians voice support for payday lending alternative

Conservative politicians have been voicing their support of the Archbishop of Canterbury's plans to provide an alternative to payday lending, on Twitter.

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Wonga chief: 'I'm all for better consumer choice'

The Archbishop is clearly an exceptional individual and someone who understands the power of innovation.

We discussed the future of banking and financial services, as well as our emerging digital society. There is mutual respect, some differing opinions and a meeting of minds on many big issues.

On the competition point, we always welcome fresh approaches that give people a fuller set of alternatives to solve their financial challenges. I'm all for better consumer choice.

– Errol Damelin, chief executive of Wonga
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What are credit unions?

  • Credit unions are small non-profit financial organisations set up by members with something in common to benefit their community.
  • That common factor may be living in the same town, working in the same industry (for example, the Police Credit Union) or belonging to a particular trade union.
  • Roughly 500 credit unions cover the UK offering loans, savings and current accounts to their members. A few even offer mortgages. Almost a million Brits are members.
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Welby's plan to 'compete' Wonga out of existence

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told Wonga the Church of England wants to "compete" it out of existence as part of its plans to expand credit unions as an alternative to payday lenders.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, who has served on the parliamentary Banking Standards Commission, plans to:

  • Expand credit unions
  • Encourage church members with relevant skills to volunteer at credit unions
  • Invite local lenders to use church buildings and other community locations with the help of church members

The Archbishop's remarks come after he launched a new credit union for clergy and church staff earlier this month at the General Synod in York.

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Welby: Church is putting its money where its mouth is

The Archbishop of Canterbury says the church is to "put its money where its mouth is" and go head-to-head with payday lenders.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Credit: Press Association

The Most Rev Justin Welby told Total Politics magazine the church's plan is to create “credit unions that are both engaged in their communities and are much more professional – and people have got to know about them.”

He added that it would be a "decade-long process".

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Archbishop of Canterbury to take on payday lenders

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told Wonga that the Church of England wants to "compete" it out of existence as part of its plans to expand credit unions as an alternative to payday lenders.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Most Rev Justin Welby told Total Politics magazine he had delivered the message to Errol Damelin, chief executive of Wonga, one of Britain's best-known payday lenders, during a "very good conversation".

“I’ve met the head of Wonga and I’ve had a very good conversation and I said to him quite bluntly we’re not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence, we’re trying to compete you out of existence.” He flashes that smile again. “He’s a businessman; he took that well.”

Justin Welby arrives in Canterbury

Justin Welby arrives. Credit: Derek Johnson

Religious leaders from across the globe are set to join royalty and senior politicians for the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby will formally begin his public ministry as head of the Church of England, spiritual leader of the 77-million strong Anglican Communion and 105th Archbishop of Canterbury at a service in Canterbury Cathedral.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall as well as Prime Minister David Cameron will be among around 2,000 people attending the ceremony.

Those also in the congregation will include representatives of major world religions including Muslims, Jews and Sikhs and senior figures from the Roman Catholic and orthodox churches.

The event marks the formal reception of the Most Rev Welby, 57, at Canterbury, the mother church of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion.

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Welby believes there will be a female archbishop

The Most Rev Justin Welby said he believes a woman will one day be made archbishop and added that some gay couples have loving relationships of "stunning quality", ahead of today's enthronement.

The Most Rev Justin Welby speaking ahead of the vote on women bishops in November 2012. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The head of the Church of England told Channel 5 News he thought there would be a female archbishop one day in spite of the defeat of women bishops legislation last November.

Pressed on the timing, he said: "Oh, I have no idea...when the right person turns up. But, yes, I think there certainly will."

In a separate interview with BBC News, the Most Rev Welby backed traditional Church teaching on homosexuality but said: "You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship."

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