In the midst growing division among the Anglican Church, Dr Rowan Williams have announced his resignation citing the end of December as his final day in the position. He is set to return to academia as master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
The 104th archbishop of Canterbury spoke to the press citing his position an “immense privilege”.
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.”
Williams, 61, has highly respected for his gifts as a preacher of great eloquence and flashes of clarity however those qualities weren’t enough to redeem him in the eyes of conservatives for his liberal views on homosexuality whilst the liberals state that he failed to live up to his principles.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron responded to the resignation by saying: “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. 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.”
The Prime Minister also thanked the bishop for his support and advice and his dedication to his work around the world highlighting William’s close interest in Sudan.
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader posted a tweet on his twitter account which read: “Rowan Williams will be sorely missed as archbishop of Canterbury; did what he said he’d do – challenge the imagination of our country.”
Rowan William’s resignation has opened speculation over the next successor with bookmakers favouring Ugandan-born archbishop of York, John Sentamu to take over the role.
Other favourite to succeed Williams, is the bishop of London, Richard Chardes.