Justin Welby on a 10-day pastoral visit to India

Published 31 July 2019  |  

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is all set for a 10-day visit to India to meet and strengthen the local Christian communities and celebrate the "force of good" of minorities.

Accompanied by wife, Caroline, and his other top advisers, Welby will be visiting seven cities in India: Bengaluru, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Medak, Kottayam, Jabalpur and Amritsar.

Welby will focus on listening to the issues of believers and providing prayer and pastoral support to projects that are dedicated in serving the local Christian communities.

During his visit to Jabalpur, Welby will attend the opening of a rural school run by Christians and learn about the minority community, a force for good in wider society.

Welby is expected to promote discussion on religious diversity by addressing religious leaders from Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and other Christian denominations about Christian prayer. The event will be hosted in Henry Martin Institute in Hyderabad - an ecumenical non-profit organisation and a centre for inter-religious studies.

Welby will attend the 100th anniversary event of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which has made him the first Archbishop to visit the site, according to Lambeth Palace.

"We regard this with real soberness, as a moment for recognising some of the sins of our history, in order to move forward with good will and mutual flourishing," Lambeth stated.

Christians in India are facing high persecution since BJP became the ruling party five years ago. The Archbishop was asked if he will address the current actions of the Indian government towards Christian persecution. But Welby made it clear saying he is visiting India as a religious leader and not as a political leader. He is not here to challenge the Prime Minister but to listen to the stories of the local Christians and pray with them. If he has to convey a message to the government, he will do it in a diplomatic way requesting them to protect religious freedom.

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