103rd Archbishop of Canterbury coming to Greenville

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, September 4, 2008

He’s traveled the world and spoken with presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens. Now he is coming to visit with the citizens of Greenville.

The 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend and Right Honourable George Carey, Lord of Clifton and his wife, Lady Eileen Carey, will be the special guests of the Rev. Fred Lindstrom and his parishioners at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church. Lord and Lady Carey will be part of the church’s sesquicentennial celebration.

As the official head of the Church of England, Carey was part of a long line of Archbishops of Canterbury, beginning with Saint Augustine in 601 A.D.

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“The Archbishop served 11 million Anglicans around the world from 1991 until 2003,” said Lindstrom. “He and Lady Carey will be here with us to help St. Thomas celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Episcopal ministry in the Butler-Lowndes County area.”

The Archbishop will celebrate the Eucharist and preach at the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday, September 14. He will also preach and officiate at a service of Evensong at 4 p.m. on that date.

“Our choir director, Charlie Kennedy, has assembled 33 singers and musicians from Greenville and Montgomery for our Evensong service. I am sure it’s going to be a particularly outstanding occasion for all in attendance,” Lindstrom said.

On Monday, September 15, a noon discussion will be held with Lord Carey in the parish hall, along with a signing of copies of his memoir, “Know the Truth,” available at the parish book store. Several other events are being planned in honor of Lord and Lady Casey’s visit.

The local rector, who has met and spent time with the Caseys on several visits to the local diocese, describes the couple as “very approachable and easy to know and like.”

Carey, born in the working-class East End of London in 1935, is “a humble man of humble origin,” Lindstrom said.

In his memoir, Carey said this of his time as Archbishop: “It was very much at the centre of my ministry to represent the cares and interests of the ordinary people, with whom I could identify in terms of background.”

The future archbishop left school at 15 and began working at the London Electricity Board as an office boy. He also served with the Royal Air Force in Iraq during the 1950s.

After choosing ministry in the Church of England as his life’s calling, Carey went on to attend the London College of Divinity and Kings College London. After graduation, he served as curate in Islington, London. During this time, he researched the early origins of the Christian ministry.

He went on to teach at two colleges before becoming a parish priest. In 1982, Carey became principal of Trinity Theological College in Bristol and, in 1987, Bishop of Bath and Wells.

After serving for 11 years as Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey was made a life peer as “Lord Carey of Clifton.”

Recipient of a dozen honorary doctorates and author of 14 books, Carey is currently the chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, chairman of the United Church Schools Trust and president of the London College of Theology. He serves on the Foundation Board of the World Forum and is co-chair of the Council of 100, which is seeking to bridge the gulf between the West and Islamic worlds.

He married Ellen Harmsworth Hood in 1960, and they have four children and 13 grandchildren. Eileen, a former nurse, is co-chair of St. Luke’s Hospital for the Clergy Appeal and is associated with the Church Army. The couple serves as vice-presidents of the TEAR Foundation, which serves children in the Sudan.

“We are delighted to have Lord and Lady Carey with us for this very special anniversary and we know Greenville, as always, will make them feel most welcome during their visit,” Lindstrom said.