Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Archbishop Reveals He Is to Step Down; Role Has Been a Privilege, Says Williams

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Archbishop Reveals He Is to Step Down; Role Has Been a Privilege, Says Williams

Article excerpt

Byline: Martha Linden

THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has hailed the Church of England as a "great treasure" as he announced he is stepping down from his post after a decade in office.

The 61 year old denied rows over homosexuality within the Anglican Communion had overshadowed his reign but admitted the job involved "immense demands".

He said: "I would like the successor that God would like.

"I think that it is a job of immense demands and I would hope that my successor has the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros really.

"But he will, I think, have to look with positive, hopeful eyes on a Church which, for all its problems, is still for so many people a place to which they resort in times of need and crisis, a place to which they look for inspiration.

"I think the Church of England is a great treasure."

Dr Williams's remarks came as it was announced he will leave his post at the end of December in time to start a new role as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge next January.

His departure marks a return to academic life after more than 20 years as a bishop and archbishop.

Dr Williams, previously a professor of divinity at Oxford University, was first consecrated bishop of Monmouth in 1991 and elected archbishop of Wales in 1999.

He was confirmed as 104th Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion in December 2002 and enthroned in February the following year. Dr Williams said: "It has been an enormous privilege being Archbishop of Canterbury.

"You are given access to the life of churches worldwide in a really unique way. "It is not just travelling abroad of course. Every year I make two or three visits to dioceses in England and just spend three or four days visiting parishes, schools and so forth. …

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