After ten years, Rowan Williams returns to academia.
UPDATE: Rowan Williams speaks to why he chose to leave his post this year:
Archbishop Rowan Williams has today announced his acceptance of the position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge with effect from January 2013. He will therefore be stepping down from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December 2012.Read it all here.
Dr Williams’ intentions have been conveyed to The Queen, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and who formally appoints the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dr Williams was appointed the one hundred and fourth Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002. He said today:
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams
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.
Dr Williams will continue to carry out all the duties and responsibilities of the Archbishop of Canterbury, both for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, until the end of the year.
The Crown Nominations Commission will consider in due course the selection of a successor.
From Magdelene College, Cambridge:
Statement from the British Prime Minister, David Cameron:
Magdalene College, in the University of Cambridge, is delighted to announce that the 35th Master of Magdalene will be The Most Reverend and Right Honorable Dr Rowan Williams PC, FBA, FRSL.
Magdalene College, Cambridge
The College has been fortunate in benefitting from the outstanding leadership of Mr Duncan Robinson CBE FSA,DL for the past ten years, during which time the academic standing of the College has been greatly enhanced, substantial efforts have been made to promote access, and a major new Court has been built, providing twenty-first century facilities.
The College looks forward to the Mastership of Dr Williams who has the capacity and vision to guide the College in a time of unprecedented change in higher education. His very distinguished record, both as a scholar and a public figure, will provide for the whole community a model of the high standards of achievement to which Magdalene is committed. Dr Williams will also work with Fellows and staff in the vital task of increasing access and widening participation to students from every background and walk of life.
Commenting on the appointment, the current Master says “I congratulate the Fellowship on the appointment of Rowan Williams. The College is fortunate to have recruited as Master someone of such outstanding intellectual stature, and such profound commitment to public service, especially at a time when collegiate Cambridge faces so many challenges. I wish him every success in the post it has been both my privilege and my pleasure to hold for the past ten years. My wife and I look forward to welcoming the Williamses to Magdalene.”
Dr Williams said: “I am very grateful to the College for the honour they have done me, and look forward to being part of such a lively and intellectually rigorous community. I hope I shall be able to continue the exciting developments that have been taking place under the guidance of the present Master and the Fellowship, and Jane and I look forward to taking up this challenging office next January."
There has been a continuous tradition of academic study on the site of the College since 1428. The College was refounded in 1542 and is now a vibrant academic community of some 350 undergraduates, 180 graduate students and 80 Fellows, together with 90 administrative and other staff.
The installation of Dr Williams as Master will take place in January 2013.
“I would like to thank Rowan Williams for his dedicated service as Archbishop of Canterbury. As a man of great learning and humility he guided the church through times of challenge and change.What's next?
“He sought to unite different communities and offer a profoundly humane sense of moral leadership that was respected by people of all faiths and none.
“As Prime Minister, I have been grateful for his support and advice – and for the work he has done around the world, particularly in Africa where he has taken such a close interest in Sudan. I wish Rowan and his family the very best for the future.”
Read the Outline of Procedures for the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury here. Here is an excerpt:
The responsibility for choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury rests with the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). Its task is to submit the name of a preferred candidate (and a second appointable candidate) to the Prime Minster who is constitutionally responsible for tendering advice on the appointment to the Queen.
The membership of the CNC is prescribed in the Standing Orders of the General Synod. When an Archbishop of Canterbury is to be chosen there are 16 voting membersRead it all here.
In addition, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary and the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments are non-voting members of the Commission.
- The Chair (a layperson) – to be appointed by the Prime Minister
- A Bishop - to be elected by the House of Bishops
- The Archbishop of York or, if he chooses not to be a member of the CNC, a further Bishop to be elected by the House of Bishops
- Six representatives elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
- The six representatives (three clergy and three lay) elected by General Synod to serve as members of the Commission for a five year period
- A member of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion elected by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.
BB NOTE: Over the last century the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury has reportedly rotated between Anglo Catholic and Evangelical bishops. Rowan Williams is Anglo Catholic (his predecessor George Carey is Evangelical) so we can possibly expect the next Archbishop to be from the evangelical wing of the Church. This is not a political wing (you may have both politically conservative or politically liberal Anglo Catholics and Evangelicals) but is a matter of polity (i.e., High Church and Low Church). As a matter of polity, this would eliminate the Bishop of London as a possible successor.
This might be a good time to review the Queen of England's speech in 2010 to the Church of England Synod:
The Archbishop of York John Sentamu has also released a statement:
Read it all here.
“It is with great sadness that I received the news that the Archbishop of Canterbury will be stepping down at the end of this year.
John Sentamu and Rowan Williams
Our partnership in the gospel over the past six years has been the most creative period of my ministry. It has been life-giving to have led missions together, gone on retreats and prayed together. In his company I have drunk deeply from the wells of God’s mercy and love and it has all been joyful. He is a real brother to me in Christ.
The last decade has been a challenging time for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. Thankfully, Archbishop Rowan is a remarkable and gifted leader who has strengthened the bonds of affection. Despite his courageous, tireless and holy endeavour, he has been much maligned by people who should have known better. For my part he has been God’s apostle for our time.
His stepping down to pursue something he dearly loves – teaching and writing - is received with gratitude, as this will continue to be a blessing to the Church. I am delighted that he is not going far away and will continue to offer service to the Church of England and the wider Church in its witness to our society. May God’s blessing continue to be showered upon him.
UPDATE: AnglicanInk has the transcript of the AP Interview with Rowan Williams here. Here is an excerpt:
The best part of the job has certainly been seeing churches at grass roots worldwide – seeing why and how they matter to people. And being given the privilege and the possibility of sharing what you hear in one part of the world, or in one part of the Church of England with other parts. You can become a kind of ‘switchboard’ for good news. You can receive good news about what’s happening in one part of the world and pass it on elsewhere, and feel very much enriched and stretched in the process.Read it all here.
The worst aspects of the job I think have been the sense that there are some conflicts that won’t go away, however long you struggle with them. And that not everybody in the Anglican Communion or even in the Church of England is eager to avoid schism or separation. I’ve certainly regarded it as a real priority to try and keep people in relationship with each other. That is what bishops have to do - what archbishops above all have to do.
Favorite Twitter headline so far:
BREAKING: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams
is to quit his post, and return to Hogwarts.
Thanks to the British actress Emma Thompson who should know.
A look back on Rowan Williams ten years as Archbishop of Canterbury and a glance forward to what is next: