Archbishop of Canterbury pays us a visit
Monday, 7 November 2022


The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby visited our First Nations school, Gawura in October to celebrate its work and the remarkable contribution of one of its founders, Pastor Raymond Minniecon.  

The Archbishop visited St Andrew’s Cathedral and Gawura following his decision to award Pastor Minniecon with the Hubert Walter Award in celebration of his profound leadership, bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the face of a tumultuous and divisive history.   

Pastor Minniecon has dedicated his life to supporting members of the Stolen Generation who were forcibly removed from their families by government agencies and church missions from the late 1800s. Minniecon, who grew up in Gureng Gureng Country in Queensland, evaded capture as a young boy and considers himself one of the lucky few.   

Archbishop Welby said: “This is an award for ‘Uncle Ray’ to say thank you for the amazing work he does being a positive person for those who have lived here for 60,000 years. 

“He has helped people to understand why [a First Nations presence] is so important and he’s built bridges between groups so they can learn how to love one another as Jesus does.”  

Archbishop Welby also chatted with the School and Canterbury House captains and choristers, and spent time with Dr McGonigle, talking about the course he has developed on reconciliation before speaking at the School’s term service. 

The Archbishop’s moving sermon at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II ensured most of the students were knowledgeable about this high-profile visitor, and as a School we were honoured to be the only school he visited during his time in Australia.  Many were surprised both by how humble he was, and how amusing – engaging the students with anecdotes on doing his French homework while attending chapel as a school student and teasing Rev. Tubman who was put on the spot when questioned “how many monarchs have I buried?”. Although knowing it was a trick question, Rev. Tubman couldn’t avoid the trap of answering only one, forgetting Archbishop Welby had also led the funeral for Richard III who was curiously found buried under a carpark in Leicester. 

More seriously, Archbishop Welby shared his personal journey to faith, which addressed the big questions, ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What am I here for?’ He said the realisation that he was loved by God, no matter what he had done or did, was a revelation. He challenged students to follow the God who loves us intimately and made each of us for a purpose.