Following the announcement from Lambeth Palace, London, that Dr Rowan Williams will be stepping down from his position as Archbishop of Canterbury, the World Council of Churches (WCC) expressed admiration for the archbishop’s ongoing leadership and his significant contribution to the ecumenical movement spanned over several years.
Archbishop Williams will be accepting a new position as master of Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge from January 2013, after leaving the office of Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December 2012, Lambeth Palace has reported.
The WCC General Secretary, Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, said of Archbishop Williams: "We are thankful for the leadership he has provided and will continue to provide to the church and the ecumenical movement in his role as Archbishop of Canterbury. His strong commitment to the unity of the church and the common work for justice and peace remains steadfast and part of his ongoing ministry. We wish him well in the next phase of his ministry.”
Dr Tveit went on to say: “The archbishop is a prolific author, public intellectual, and articulate spokesperson for matters related to the unity of a living and relevant faith. Rowan Williams’ sphere of contribution and influence on moral, ethical and social issues is expansive.”
“We at the WCC are grateful for his recent visit to the Ecumenical Centre; it was an inspiring time to strengthen ongoing relationships and explore new possibilities," added Dr Tveit.
Archbishop Williams’ stepping down from the office of Archbishop of Canterbury concludes his decade long leadership of the Anglican Communion. In 2003 he began his ministry as Archbishop of Canterbury. As spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury is considered to be the “first among equals” amongst fellow Anglican bishops around the world.
As a renowned theologian and academic, Archbishop Williams has been involved with several ecumenical commissions. He has been engaged with the WCC in several ecumenical initiatives relevant to the global church community.