The Archbishop of Canterbury on his earliest memories, his favourite quotation—and Thomas the Tank Engineby Justin Welby / October 13, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in November 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
What is the first news/historical event you can recall?
My earliest memory is of being taken to tea with Winston Churchill in 1961 by my mother—Churchill was her former boss. He was very old and he cried. And because he cried, I cried. And then we sat and had tea. The first historical event I can remember was seeing flags at half mast for President John F Kennedy.
What is the book you most wish you had written?
Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The language is fantastic and its sentiments are very challenging—I hope and pray the church will never be merely “useful,” as Gibbon says the religions of the Roman Empire were.
One bit of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t wait until you are older to find out about Jesus Christ and his love for you. He is not just a name at chapel, but a person you can know.
Who was your first hero?
Probably Thomas the Tank Engine.
What is your favourite saying or quotation?
“C’est tout grâce” (“It’s all grace”)—courtesy of my spiritual director, Father Nicolas Buttet, a Swiss monk. It reminds me that each day the gospel comes to me as a sinner and astounds me with the news that I am loved, accepted, forgiven, redeemed and chosen in Jesus.
Where do you want to be buried or have your ashes scattered?
Canterbury, and Southam in Warwickshire where I was the parish priest.