Last updated 11:20AM GMT 16 April, 2012
A Statement from the Chuch of the Province of Central Africa
The Church would like to give thanks to God for Archbishop Rowan Williams’ selfless service to the Anglican Communion and to the wider community as we come to terms with his impending resignation at the end of the year as Archbishop of Canterbury.
We shall remember him greatly for his untiring effort to keep the communion together in the face of the challenging issue of human sexuality.
The Church of the Province of Central Africa admires his patience and tolerance of divergent views as he exercised his ministry among the people of God of different cultural, social and theological dispositions. This we realise has not been easy. But God gave him wisdom and courage to carry the church forward at its critical time.
The Church of the Province of Central Africa remembers with affection the Archbishop’s pastoral visitation to the region in the summer of 2011. His unique pastoral gift uplifted the spirits of the people of the Province and especially the persecuted church in Zimbabwe.
Our prayer is that God who called him to be the Archbishop of Canterbury will continue to bless him with wisdom in his new role and that he may continue doing his will.
Revdmo. Carlos Touché-Porter, Arzobispo Iglesia Anglicana de México
A nombre de la Comunidad Anglicana de México, quiero expresar nuestro sentimiento de tristeza
por el próximo retiro de Su Gracia, el Arzobispo Rowan. Su liderazgo, su sabiduría, su paciencia
y su humildad han sido una fuente de inspiración para muchos de nosotros.
Como siempre, el tiempo nos permitirá ir apreciando la grandeza de su contribución a la vida de
la Comunión Anglicana en estos momentos tan difíciles y dolorosos.
Les deseamos, a él y a Jane, las bendiciones de Dios en esta nueva etapa de sus vidas. Nos consuela saber
que seguiremos disfrutando de su sabiduria y de su producción teológica y literaria.
Muchas gracias Arzobispo Rowan: nunca olvidaré su trato tan amable y personal para conmigo.
Que Dios le bendiga siempre.
Statement by Archbishop Paul Kwong, Primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui expresses our gratefulness to Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams for serving the Lord in the past 10 years through his love and dedication to the Anglican Communion.
I had the pleasure to host Archbishop Rowan, (Archbishop in-waiting) when he visited Hong Kong in 2002 to attend the Standing Committee meeting of the Primates’ Meeting prior to ACC-12. I am also privileged to have worked with him for the past five years on the life of the Communion since the Primates’ Meeting of 2007 held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While he is known to many as a gifted spiritual thinker with immense intellectual capacity, he impresses me most for his humility and compassion, the two fundamental attributes as God’s servant.
Despite the challenges facing the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Rowan had the ironclad faith to preserve our unity while working relentlessly to develop our ministry throughout the world. I specially want to thank him for his continuous support of our ministry in Hong Kong and his efforts to cement the relationship with the Christian church in China and his love and heart for Chinese people.
Archbishop Rowan’s articulation of the Anglican way in a theological context will continue to inspire us for years to come. We will always keep him and his family in our prayer and hope to welcome them to Hong Kong again in the future.
The Rt. Revd. Ashoke Biswas, Bishop of Calcutta
Meeting with The Most Rev. and Rt. Honourable Rowan Douglas Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury for the 1st time comes to my mind, when in the year 2009 I had been to UK to attend the Canterbury Conference and we were taken to Lambeth Palace to meet the Archbishop. I met him and his wife, Jane William and was very much impressed with him, his ministry, his speech and overall his personality.
Archbishop promised that on his visit to India he would come to Calcutta Diocese and he did come in the year 2010 where we organised a civic reception to welcome him. Archbishop time with us was both inspiring and encouraging as he visited our HIV/AIDS project and began to think of a possibility of bringing together a ‘Global Alliance’ which would line up experiences, skills and resource, to start with the existing grassroots projects and then connecting them at an international level. His words, while leaving the country, “Remember the Church needs you and the Society needs the Church” continues to instill in us a sense of love and commitment to the church.
I met him in the year 2011 again when I had a chance to visit the Diocese of Derby and with Bishop Alastair met Archbishop Rowan at Lambeth Palace.
I hope to was planning to meet him again this summer to receive his blessings if God wills it. I wish him all God’s blessings and we shall always cherish the moments that we spent together. May the Lord bless him and Jane as he takes on his new assignment as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
Thanking you Archbishop Rowan for the simplicity and depth of your leadership
The man of prayer leaves the throne of St. Augustine with dignity.
On behalf of the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi I would like to express our gratitude to the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Dr. Rowan Williams for his leadership of and ministry to the Anglican Communion during these past 10 years.
We have appreciated his courage and commitment as he has steered the Anglican Communion through difficult and painful times. His years as Archbishop of Canterbury have been marked by wise and prayerful pursuit of the unity of the Church. He has been able to guide our thinking about a range of challenging issues with his scholarly theological insights. His message of “Gracious restraint” at Lambeth 2008 was a call to the leadership of the Anglican Communion to read our history together so that our mutual accountability might characterise our relationship in the Communion we share.
Dr. Williams has continuously reminded us, his fellow Primates that to be in dialogue, to listen to each other, and to learn from each other means that we become a spiritually renewed, strengthened and united Church prepared to engage in the mission to which God has called us.
We greatly appreciated his visit to Burundi in 2005 when he preached at my enthronement as Archbishop of Burundi and were touched by the compassion he showed for the people of Burundi who were suffering from long years of civil war. We thank him for his personal interest in and support of the ministry of the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi.
We wish him along with his wife, Jane and the family every blessing as he takes up his new responsibility as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi
Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Burundi
The Rt Rev C Andrew Doyle, Episcopal Diocese of Texas
Archbishop Williams was called to serve the Anglican Communion during a most difficult time and I am grateful that, during his tenure, he has led the Church from a deep and abiding prayer life. I am grateful for his guidance and the hard work he has undertaken on our part. I am personally thankful for his kindness, hospitality and support of me when we spoke at last fall’s Compass Rose Society meeting in London. His encouragement to strive for unity for the sake of mission is and will continue to be a guiding principal of my ministry.
I know Archbishop Williams to be a faithful man and I will continue to seek his guidance, leadership and wisdom, even as he moves into a new phase of his ministry. We are blessed to have his leadership in our diverse Communion, particularly at this time. Let us offer our gratitude for Archbishop Williams’ service and ministry and let us look forward to celebrating his vibrant and wise counsel among us. Let us seek to say good bye well; in order that we may be prayerful about his successor. And finally, let us pray for discernment for those who will be involved in appointing the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Statement by The Most Revd Paul Keun-Sang Kim, Bishop of Seoul and Primate of Korea
Over the past 10 years Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams's commitment and passion for the worldwide Anglican Communion have been the source of inspiration and courage to the Anglicans around the world. He revealed the depth of faith to those who believe in, and also witnessed the value of faith contributing to justice and peace of this world to our neighbour out of church.
Especially the Anglican Church of Korea gives thanks to his enormous concern and effort towards peace and reconciliation of the Korean Peninsula. We pray for that the Holy Spirit will be with him in order to perform fully his office of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the end of this year, and we earnestly hope that the grace of God will allow for him to serve the church and the world as a distinctive scholar from next year.
The Rt Revd Matthias Mededues-Badohu, Bishop of Ho Diocese, Ghana
The timing for the announcement of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s retirement is very sad. Trying to see through this holy man whose writings, sermons and addresses I have listened to in Cathedrals, Churches, on retreats, at seminars and conferences (just to mention but a few), many at times I feel the Church has ignored his wisdom in doing all it takes to preserve her unity.
It’s a great pity Cantuar should go at this time when women bishops and covenant issues are still pending. However, it is a very difficult job to hold on to for years especially when the Church has been absorbed by a secularized society where only ‘political’ votes are the only things that count.
We shall surely miss his humility and wisdom. We pray for him in his new ministry from January, 2013 and even more so in his last days as Cantuar. God's blessings"
Daniel Solomon Raja, Department of Communications, Church of South India Synod
I was saddened to learn that, His Grace The Most Revered and Right Honorable R. Rowan Williams has decided to step down as Archbishop of Canterbury. He was inspirational to many. He has been respected by all sides for his gifts as a preacher of great eloquence and flashes of clarity. As a humanist he used his public platform to express opinions on many social justice issues that were widely shared by religious and non-religious people around the world.
I had the rare privilege of being with him throughout his visit to Church of South India in October 2010 as a Media person. It was a moment of joy and happiness for me to travel with a great personality like him who was humble and courteous. May the Almighty God be with him as he takes up his new responsibility as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
“He was above all wise, in the Biblical sense…” the Archbishops of The Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia have paid tribute to Dr William’s leadership.
“He was greatly respected by us,” says Archbishop David Moxon, who spoke on behalf of Archbishops Brown Turei and Winston Halapua.
“We respected him as a deeply prayerful, thoughtful person, as someone of huge intelligence.
“But he was above all wise, in the Biblical sense, with a great heart for the diversity of the Anglican Communion, across all its cultures, and with all its theological tensions.
“He has a way of searching for the highest common good with all the resources of his scholarship, and all the sensitivity of his soul.
“His sermons, writings and talks will endure as unique in their generation, will be used for a very long time as an expression of exemplary Anglican thinking.
“We will miss Archbishop Rowan’s grace and mind very much, and we wish him well in his new role in Cambridge.
“And we’re delighted and humbled that his last international duty will be amongst us here in Aotearoa New Zealand, when he chairs the Anglican Consultative council meeting in Auckland in November.”
Church Army’s Chief Executive, Mark Russell, has paid tribute to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, following the announcement of his stepping down from the role in December.
The Archbishop has been Church Army’s Vice President since 2005 and has taken a great interest in its work. Over the years he has visited many of its projects, most recently Church on the Bus in Derbyshire which supports more than 60 homeless people each week.
Mark Russell, Church Army Chief Executive, said: “Rowan Williams is a remarkable man. He has held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury through demanding years and he has given so much of himself as he has led us. On behalf of the whole Church Army family I pay tribute to Rowan and thank him for his leadership, his compassion and his commitment to mission.
“I said in General Synod that the job of Archbishop of Canterbury is the most difficult job in the history of the world, and in Rowan Williams the Church has had a good man of integrity and prayer. He has been loving and listening to those who gave him a hard time.
"Rowan appointed me as the youngest ever member of the Archbishops' Council in 2004 and then commissioned me as the CEO of Church Army in 2006. He has been a friend who has constantly encouraged me. Most recently it was a privilege to join him in the Holy Land for a retreat. I wish him, Jane and their children every blessing in the years to come.”
The Rt Revd Miguel Tamayo, Bishop of the Diocese of Uruguay
It is with great sadness that I just learned from ACNS that our brother ++Rowan will definitively end his ministry as the Archbishop of Canterbury by the end of this year. At the same time I want to express an enormous gratitude for his ministry during these years.
Not only for ecclesiastical reasons, but also for personal ones, I feel very close to him and bless our good Lord for all that he has done and is still doing for our beloved Anglican Communion along this difficult times.
I will never forget the privilege he granted me in the calling to work together in the 2008 Lambeth Design Group and the fruitful time preparing the Conference and the Conference itself.
May God bless him and his family for ever.
From the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby
"The Archbishop has brought a wealth of wisdom and spiritual guidance to the role over the last ten years to what is a very demanding job.
"He has been incredibly supportive to me personally in ministry and in the taking up of the job here in Durham. I would like to thank him for all his help, encouragement, guidance and spiritual leadership that he has brought to the role and I wish him every best wish his new role as Master of Magdalene College Cambridge."
Archdeacon Paul Feheley, principal secretary to Archbishop Hiltz the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
Archbishop Williams' time in office was a time of significant challenges," he said, "and throughout those challenging times, we benefited from his thoughtful, pastoral presence. One of the great joys for the Canadian Church was his visit in 2007 to our House of Bishops where he gave some very moving addresses on Christian Leadership as the Bishops prepared to nominate for the election of a Primate at the 2007 General Synod. I am certain that the whole Canadian church joins in wishing him well as he returns to teaching."
(Archbishop Fred Hiltz, is currently en route to Melanesia)
The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says
“I heard with great regret the news that Archbishop Rowan Williams is stepping down from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury. In the depth of his spirituality and the richness of his intellect, he has been an inspirational figure. Those gifts have enabled him to be a positive influence in society far beyond the boundaries of the church.
“Archbishop Rowan’s time as Archbishop of Canterbury has been marked by great difficulty. To be the person who is called to foster and to embody unity will always be a costly ministry. He has fulfilled that ministry with a wonderful grace and personal warmth.
“In the Scottish Episcopal Church, we are grateful for times when he has visited and enriched our life. On a personal level, I shall miss his friendship and support and wish Rowan and Jane many years of happy and fulfilling ministry.”
Statement by The Most Revd Dr Thabo C Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town, on the news that Archbishop Rowan Williams will step down at the end of 2012. My heart is very full at the news that Dr Rowan Williams will stand down at the end of this year. We in the Anglican Communion, and indeed the wider world, have been inordinately privileged to have such an able theologian and deeply spiritual thinker, as Archbishop of Canterbury over the last decade. He has exercised remarkable gospel-shaped leadership during tumultuous times for our Communion, in which his commitment to consensus seeking, rooted in his refusal to take quick and easy solutions that fail to address the more fundamental issues, has shown great courage and deeply profound rootedness in the faith to which we are called. Again and again he has returned us to the central questions of whose we are, and for whom we are to be – in loving, faithful, obedient, service of God, of God’s church, and of God’s world. I look forward to the fresh contribution he will be able to make in coming years to the Christian voice in the public space, as he moves to Cambridge.
I personally, and we in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, will miss him very much. He has been a great friend to us, and especially to me when I was first appointed Archbishop and learning the ropes. As Southern Africans we say he is ‘Truly Umtu’, someone who lives and embodies the fullness of ubuntu – that it is through others we find our own humanity, umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu. We wish him, his wife Jane, and children Rhiannon and Pip, great joy and blessing during the rest of their time at Lambeth Palace, and in the new chapter of life that lies ahead. They have the assurance of our fondest love and prayers in the coming months.
National Cathedral Responds to Archbishop of Canterbury’s Intended Resignation
Washington, D.C.—The Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade, interim dean of Washington National Cathedral, released a statement today in response to news that the Most Rev. Rowan Williams will step down as archbishop of Canterbury at the end of this year. The symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop of Canterbury leads the international network of Anglican and Episcopal churches around the world.
“Rowan Williams has been a steadfast and compassionate leader during two decades in ministry as a bishop—half of them as the central figure in our Anglican Communion,” said Wade. “We give thanks that he has used his gifts in a demanding role of service, and we expect that he will continue to serve God with those gifts.
“In the meantime, religion across the world has been used as a justification for violence and conflict rather than the unifying and healing role that we know that it can play. As a people of faith, we must use our abilities to seek commonality instead of difference, and unity instead of discord, as Archbishop Williams has done throughout his ministry.
“The next archbishop of Canterbury will have to continue the challenging work of ministering to a divided Church, but he must never forget the endless opportunities to be found through God’s infinite love and grace. Here in the United States, a people of many faiths and perspectives, we have much to offer in the healing of our broken and hurting world. We at the National Cathedral will continue to express God’s love and seek God’s grace with new resolve, as our Prayer for the Unity of the Church asks, ‘so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity.’ Amen.”
The Archbishop of Armagh pays tribute to the Archbishop of Canterbury on the announcement of his resignation
Statement by The Most Revd Alan Harper, OBE, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland:
Archbishop Rowan Williams is held in high affection across the Anglican Communion and, on behalf of the Church of Ireland, I offer him prayerful good wishes as he decides to step down from the hugely demanding role as Archbishop of Canterbury to take up his new responsibilities – and enter a new phase of his life – as Master of Magdelene College, Cambridge at the end of this year. While the Churches of the Anglican Communion will feel a considerable sense of loss when he departs, as an intellectual, a Christian thinker and a poet, he will bring a rich offering of gifts to this academic position. Happily, in returning to the academic sphere, Archbishop Rowan will continue to be able to contribute extensively to the intellectual life of the Communion for years to come.
The Anglican Communion has faced many deep and complex challenges over the past number of years and Rowan has sought to hold people together in unity consistently, doubtless at some real personal cost. He has brought depth of thinking, humility and sincerity to his leadership which we have valued immensely.
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has noted the following on the announcement that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is stepping down.
“I am grateful for Rowan Williams’ service as Archbishop of Canterbury during an exceedingly challenging season. We can all give thanks for his erudition and persistence in seeking reconciliation across a rapidly changing Anglican Communion. His leadership of that reconciling work through Indaba and Ubuntu is bearing remarkable fruit, and I believe this will be his most important legacy. I give thanks that his spiritual and intellectual gifts will continue to bless the larger world, albeit from a different vantage point. May the coming months bring well-deserved peace to him and his family, and may we join in blessing his ministry. ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’”
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
Statement from the Right Reverend Dr Gregory K Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph Formerly Chaplain to Archbishop Rowan Williams, while Archbishop of Wales:
‘Archbishop Rowan has given sterling service as Archbishop of Canterbury in difficult times for the Anglican Communion. He has been a theologian and spiritual leader of outstanding worth and thoughtful stability, and he will make an excellent Master at Magdalene.’
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Ph.D. is Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut in The Episcopal Church. A member of the Anglican Communion Standing Committee, he was on the Design Group for the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops.
"I thank God for the gentle and wise leadership of Archbishop Rowan these last ten years. His decision to do a new thing with the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, turning away from parliamentary debate and focusing instead on equipping bishops as leaders in God mission, will be remembered as a tuning point in the life of the Anglican Communion. A man of deep prayer, Archbishop Rowan has continually pursued reconciliation in Jesus Christ for all people; often at great personal cost. We will indeed miss him across the Anglican Communion. My heart and prayers go out to him, Jane, and their children."
Bishop James Jones pays tribute to The Archbishop of Canterbury
Following the announcement that the Archbishop of Canterbury is to step down from his role Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Reverend James Jones said,
The Archbishop of Canterbury has served the Church of England, the Nation and the Anglican Communion tirelessly, courageously and beyond the call of duty. His visits to the diocese of Liverpool showed his pastoral sensitivity and his exceptional ability to engage a wide range of people in the debate about the Christian faith. The House of Bishops greatly appreciates his outstanding gift of leading them in teaching the faith at a deep level. We are grateful to him and Jane for bearing the burden of this office especially through such turbulent times and pray for God’s blessing on this new chapter in their life and ministry.
The most able Archbishop of Canterbury for centuries” – Archbishop of Wales pays tribute to Dr Rowan Williams
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, today paid tribute to fellow Welshman Dr Rowan Williams for his work as Archbishop of Canterbury.
He said, “Dr Rowan Williams has been the most able Archbishop of Canterbury for centuries and perhaps his true worth will only really be appreciated by the Church once he’s gone. He is a deeply Christian man, both humble and holy, always approachable and never standing on ceremony. As such he has endeared himself to many people.
“He has worked tirelessly over the past decade to hold the Anglican Communion together, taking very seriously the views of those who differ from him. He has tried to encourage everyone to work together, rather than to pursue their own agendas, and that is always a difficult task.
“In Wales, of course, we’ve been particularly proud of him and he’s been a wonderful ambassador for our country. He’s always delighted to return and has an official Welsh weekend every year – next weekend in fact – when he’s always welcomed back with open arms.
“No doubt, being Archbishop of Canterbury has been a gruelling job for him and I expect he’ll now be looking forward to returning to reading, writing and lecturing. He has an enormous ability to think in a deep and profound way and is able to bring things to light thoughtfully and effectively – a quality which I think people will miss and he will certainly not want to get in the way of whoever succeeds him.”
The Most Rev’d Dr Phillip Aspinall, Primate of Australia
We are all indebted to Archbishop Rowan for bringing a sensitive Christian voice to the public square. He has had much to teach us all about empathy, friendship and the precious gift of community life.
We in the West have desperately needed to hear his voice at this time, when virtue and civil society itself are under serious pressure. He reminds us that we are always radically constituted with our brothers and sisters and that God is the deepest basis of our common life.
We will all miss Archbishop Rowan’s prayerfulness, his kindness and his deep learning.
The Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall
Primate of Australia