The Bishop of Durham says he will continue to champion the North East in his new role as Archbishop of Canterbury. He spoke to Helen Ford during an event at Sunderland Minster.
The Bishop of Durham has returned to the North East after news of his appointment as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Justin Welby joined volunteers at Sunderland Minster, packing food parcels to be distributed to those in need.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair says the appointment of Justin Welby as the new Archbishop of Canterbury is a "very interesting choice, and a very good one".
Mr Blair was commenting after today's announcement that the former Bishop of Durham would become the new head of the Church of England. He said:
"I think Justin Welby is a very interesting choice, and a very good one.
"Not just the Church of England, but the faith part of our society needs strong leadership, innovative leadership, and a little bit of sparkle and enthusiasm.
"I think he'll bring something very, very special to the job."
The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has expressed his excitement about taking up the new position but also sadness at leaving Durham.
The Rt Reverend Justin Welby has been Bishop of Durham for almost a year and has been now been officially announced as the next Archbishop of Canterbury after the Queen gave her royal approval to the nomination.
In a speech to the media, the new Archbishop said that although he would be going to a new position, he would not forget the people of Durham whom he has loved working with so much
"I want to say at once that one of the biggest challenges is to follow a man who I believe will be recognised as one of the greatest Archbishops of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.
He is some one with a deep love for Jesus Christ, an infectious spirituality, extraordinary integrity and holiness, immense personal moral and physical courage, and of course one of the world's principal theologians and philosophers.
To be fully serious, the church world wide owes him a great debt, more than it knows, and I shall be continuing to seek his advice and wisdom. I can only wish him, Jane and the family a wonderful end to his time at Canterbury and joy in their new roles."
"To be nominated to this post is both astonishing and exciting. It is something I never expected, and the last few weeks have been a very strange experience.
It is exciting because we are at one of those rare points where the tide of events is turning, and the church nationally, including the Church of England has great opportunities to match its very great but often hidden strengths.
I feel a massive sense of privilege at being one of those responsible for the leadership of the church in a time of spiritual hunger, when our network of parishes and churches and schools and above all people means that we are facing the toughest issues in the toughest place."
"We also face deep differences over the issue of sexuality. It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people co-habiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships. We must have no truck with any form of homophobia, in any part of the church.
I support the House of Bishop's statement in the summer in answer to the government's consultation on same sex marriage. I know I need to listen attentively to the LGBT communities, and examine my own thinking.
I am always averse to the language of exclusion, when what we are called to is to love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us. Above all in the church we need to create safe spaces for these issues to be discussed honestly and in love."
The Rt Reverend Justin Welby, the current Bishop of Durham, has been officially announced as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Queen has approved the nomination. He will be enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral on 21st March 2013.
– Rt Reverend Justin Welby
"I feel a massive sense of privilege at being one of those responsible for the leadership of the church in a time of spiritual hunger, when our network of parishes and churches andschools and above all people means that we are facing the toughest issues in the toughest place.”
56-year-old Bishop Welby is a former oil executive, who was first ordained as a deacon in 1992.
He will succeed the retiring Dr Rowan Williams as the 105th Archbishopof Canterbury.
BREAKING: Downing Street confirms Justin Welby is leaving his post as Bishop of Durham to become Archbishop of Canterbury.