Friday, March 16, 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to step down

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who has arguably had the most tumultuous tenure of any archbishop since the English Civil War of the 1640s, announced today his retirement. The Queen of England will appoint his successor later this year. In a statement issued from the Archbishop's Lambeth Palace, he had this to say:

It has been an immense privilege to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury over the past decade, and moving on has not been an easy decision. During the time remaining there is much to do, and I ask your prayers and support in this period and beyond. I am abidingly grateful to all those friends and colleagues who have so generously supported Jane and myself in these years, and all the many diverse parishes and communities in the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion that have brought vision, hope and excitement to my own ministry. I look forward, with that same support and inspiration, to continuing to serve the Church’s mission and witness as best I can in the years ahead.
I've been critical at times of Archbishop Rowan on this blog, particularly over his promotion of an "Anglican Covenant" that many, including me, feel will do more harm than good. But I've also expressed my gratitude for how he has attempted to hold the center, and for his brilliance in guiding the Lambeth gathering of Anglican bishops in 2008. Nor should we forget that he was in lower Manhattan on 9/11 and witnessed first-hand the attacks on the World Trade Center; his words and presence showed great courage and comfort in the days and weeks that followed.

In the days ahead there will be many plaudits and barbs directed his way, but for now let us keep him and his family and the whole Church in our prayers.

For the full statement from Lambeth, click HERE.

The New York Times today published a solid article on Williams' impending departure. The story includes speculation on who comes next. You can it by clicking HERE.

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