Friday, March 16, 2012

Rowan Williams to Step Down as Archbishop of Canterbury

Rowan Williams has announced his decision to step down as Archbishop of Canterbury to become head of Magdalene College at the end of this year. Commenting on this decision he said:

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.

Read the whole article.

++Rowan discusses some of the reasons for the decision in this video:

A transcript of the complete interview is available here.

++Rowan has had the unenviable (and perhaps impossible) job of working to hold the Communion together while taking constant and oftentimes brutally vicious hits from across the theological spectrum. Much to the chagrin of the Anglican Right, he's refused to take a hardline, disciplinary approach to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. Much to the chagrin of the Anglican Left, he's subordinated his own personal opinions on LGBT inclusion to what he believes is the greater good of the Communion, investing all of his authority (what little he actually has) in the Anglican Covenant. And now it's all but certain that the Covenant will fail. So even without taking into account the other reasons he cites in the video, it's not surprising that he's stepping down.

Some reactions to ++Rowan's decision can be read here and here.

BC at Catholicity and Covenant offers a thanksgiving for ++Rowan's ministry as Archbishop of Canterbury:

The news that ++Rowan will step down as Archbishop of Canterbury in December will lead to many of us across the Communion giving thanks for his oversight and the body of teaching which he leaves - a body of teaching which has deeply enriched Anglicanism's response to the call to live as part of the church catholic. ...

On behalf of those laity, deacons, priests and bishops in the Communion whose discipleship and vocation has been strengthened and enriched by ++Rowan's ministry and teaching, Deo Gratias.

I also give thanks for ++Rowan's ministry and teaching (I'm particularly grateful for his clear endorsement of the reliability and truthfulness of the creeds). And I wish him every blessing as he enters a new phase of his life and ministry.


Kurt said...

I’m sorry that I cannot share the effusion of “best wishes,” and “well done” etc. that are flowing to RW. As far as I’m concerned, it’s well past time that he resigned. He, like George Carey before him, has done great damage to the Anglican Communion. If his replacement follows in their steps of the past 20 years, then perhaps it will be time, at last, for The Episcopal Church to bid the AC a not-so-fond farewell. I would much rather be working productively with the Church of Sweden, the Old Catholics, ELCA, etc. than constantly fighting with Canterbury and its socially and theologically backward minions.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Bryan Owen said...

Hi Kurt. I see that you left a very similar comment over at Peter Carrell's blog Anglican Down Under. Since I agree with Peter's response to your comment on his site, I'm taking the liberty of using it as a response here as well:

"Hi Kurt
I think we are going to disagree once again!

"As far as I can see it is very difficult to sustain an argument that another person being the ABC these last ten years would have made an extraordinarily difficult situation better.

"As for TEC working more closely with other churches: isn't that up to TEC to do something about, not the ABC?!"

The Old Gringo said...


You are right.

Those of us who are wounded by the radical notions of secular humanists presenting themselves as holy men and worthy guides along the straight and narrow do certainly agree with you.
It is amazing to note that this ABC could muddle and obfuscate so much in so little time. Some might say he was overwhelmed by the "divisiveness and politicisation" that the Church has suffered during the past 40 years. Those are code words for flatearthers who believe in Holy Mysteries, Church Canon, Traditions, and natural law as established by Yahweh. The only fire and brimstone we have seen for years is the blistering hatred the Church hierarchy has for those who long for a time when the Archbishop of Canterbury could make at least one or two references to the Nazarene or His Father during his dull, prolonged, torturously twisted meaningless commentaries.

Nay! Nay! We were those who were. The secular humanists and the social justice people came and changed the Church and them blamed us for the Chruch's failings. They said they would fill the pews...and they are more empty than before. The have elevated perversity, worship of humanity, and idealised materialism. They have resucitated a few obscure practices from yon so as to show that they are also traditionalists, but they never really evoke the inner feeling in a congregation that there is any sharing of belief in the unseen. The only thing they worship seems to be "equivilisation"....the making everyone and everythng "equal". It is a dreary gospel, written by Voltaire, Robespierre, Marx, and Engles....and it does not belong in an Episcopal or Anglican Church.

We pray for the Black African Bishp to be called to reinvigorate this great part of the Body of Christ. That Thy will be done.
Davod Christian Newton
aka El Gringo Viejo....

Kurt said...

If folks on this site think that I have “dismissive thoughts” on the ABC, they should check out Williams’ fellow Brit, Adrian Worsfold, who makes my thoughts seem tame by comparison:

Kurt Hill
Enjoying the First Day of Spring in
Brooklyn, NY

C. Wingate said...

Honestly I consider Worsfold's condemnation to be something of a plus in Rowan Williams's column. He is, after all, not someone who (from what I gather) ever represented a believer's viewpoint.

Kurt said...

Regardless of Adrian's theology (or yours, CW, for that matter), he makes a good case against RW's tenure.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY