Rowan Williams

Rowan Douglas Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth, PC, FBA, FRSL, FLSW (born 14 June 1950) is a Welsh Anglican bishop, theologian and poet. He served as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury from December 2002 to December 2012.[2][3] Previously the Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales, Williams was the first Archbishop of Canterbury in modern times not to be appointed from within the Church of England.

Williams' primacy was marked by speculation that the Anglican Communion (in which the Archbishop of Canterbury is the leading figure) was on the verge of fragmentation over disagreements on contemporary issues such as homosexuality and the ordination of women. Williams worked to keep all sides talking to one another.[1] Notable events during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury include the rejection by a majority of dioceses of his proposed Anglican Covenant and, in the final General Synod of his tenure, his unsuccessful attempt to secure a sufficient majority for a measure to allow the appointment of women as bishops in the Church of England.

Having spent much of his earlier career as an academic at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford successively, Williams speaks three languages and reads at least nine.[4] After standing down as Archbishop, Williams took up the positions of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge in 2013, and Chancellor of the University of South Wales in 2014.[5][6] He also delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013.

Justin Welby succeeded Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury on 9 November 2012, being enthroned in March 2013. On 26 December 2012, 10 Downing St announced Williams' elevation to the peerage as a Life Baron,[7] so that he could continue to speak in the Upper House of Parliament. Following the creation of his title on 8 January and its gazetting on 11 January 2013,[8] he was introduced to the temporal benches of the House of Lords as Baron Williams of Oystermouth on 15 January 2013,[9] sitting as a crossbencher.

The Lord Williams of Oystermouth

Archbishop of Canterbury
Rowan Williams -001b
ChurchChurch of England
Elected2 December 2002
Installed27 February 2003
Term ended31 December 2012 (retired)[1]
PredecessorGeorge Carey
SuccessorJustin Welby
Other postsArchbishop of Wales
Bishop of Monmouth
Ordination1977 (deacon)
1978 (priest)
Consecration1 May 1992
by Alwyn Rice Jones
Personal details
Birth nameRowan Douglas Williams
Born14 June 1950 (age 68)
Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Aneurin Williams
  • Delphine née Morris
Jane Paul (m. 1981)
ProfessionBishop, theologian
Alma mater
  • Cultus Dei Sapientia Hominis
  • (The worship of God is the wisdom of man)
The Lord Williams of Oystermouth's signature
Coat of armsThe Lord Williams of Oystermouth's coat of arms
Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge
Assumed office
January 2013
Preceded byDuncan Robinson
Member of the House of Lords
(life peer)
Assumed office
January 2013

Early life and ordination

Williams was born on 14 June 1950 in Swansea, Wales, into a Welsh-speaking family.[10] He was the only child of Aneurin Williams and his wife Nancy Delphine (known as "Del")[11] Williams (née Morris) – Presbyterians who became Anglicans in 1961. He was educated at the state-sector Dynevor School in Swansea, before going on to study theology at Christ's College, Cambridge, whence he graduated with starred first-class honours. He then went to Wadham College, Oxford, where he studied under A. M. Allchin and graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1975 with a thesis entitled The Theology of Vladimir Nikolaievich Lossky: An Exposition and Critique.[12]

Williams lectured and trained for ordination at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, for two years (1975–1977). In 1977, he returned to Cambridge to teach theology as a tutor (as well as chaplain and Director of Studies) at Westcott House; he was made a deacon in the chapel by Eric Wall, Bishop of Huntingdon, at Michaelmas (2 October).[13] While there, he was ordained a priest the Petertide following (2 July 1978), by Peter Walker, Bishop of Ely, at Ely Cathedral.[14]


Early academic career and pastoral ministry

Williams did not have a formal curacy until 1980, when he served at St George's, Chesterton, until 1983, after having been appointed a university lecturer in divinity at Cambridge. In 1984 he became dean and chaplain of Clare College and, in 1986 at the age of 36, he was appointed to the Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford, a position which brought with it appointment to a residentiary canonry of Christ Church Cathedral. In 1989 he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity (DD) and, in 1990, was elected a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA).[15]

Episcopal ministry

On 5 December 1991, Williams was elected Bishop of Monmouth in the Church in Wales: he was consecrated a bishop on 1 May 1992 at St Asaph Cathedral and enthroned at Newport Cathedral on 14 May. He continued to serve as Bishop of Monmouth after he was elected to also be the Archbishop of Wales in December 1999, in which capacity he was enthroned again at Newport Cathedral on 26 February 2000.[16]

In 2002, he was announced as the successor to George Carey as Archbishop of Canterbury — the senior bishop in the Church of England and "first among equals" in the Anglican Communion. As a bishop of the disestablished Church in Wales, Williams was the first Archbishop of Canterbury since the English Reformation to be appointed to this office from outside the Church of England. His election by the Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral was confirmed by nine bishops in the customary ceremony in London on 2 December 2002, when he officially became Archbishop of Canterbury.[17] He was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 27 February 2003 as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

Rowan Williams 2012
Williams visiting the National Assembly for Wales, March 2012

The translation of Williams to Canterbury was widely canvassed. As a bishop he had demonstrated a wide range of interests in social and political matters and was widely regarded, by academics and others, as a figure who could make Christianity credible to the intelligent unbeliever. As a patron of Affirming Catholicism, his appointment was a considerable departure from that of his predecessor and his views, such as those expressed in a widely published lecture on homosexuality were seized on by a number of evangelical and conservative Anglicans. The debate had begun to divide the Anglican Communion, however, and Williams, in his new role as its leader was to have an important role.

As Archbishop of Canterbury, Williams acted ex officio as visitor of King's College London, the University of Kent and Keble College, Oxford, governor of Charterhouse School,[18] and, since 2005, as (inaugural) chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University. In addition to these ex officio roles, Cambridge University awarded him an honorary doctorate in divinity in 2006;[19] in April 2007, Trinity College and Wycliffe College, both associated with the University of Toronto, awarded him a joint Doctor of Divinity degree during his first visit to Canada since being enthroned and he also received honorary degrees and fellowships from various universities including Kent, Oxford, and Roehampton.[20]

Williams speaks or reads eleven languages: English, Welsh, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Biblical Hebrew, Syriac, Latin, and both Ancient (koine) and Modern Greek.[21][22] He learnt Russian in order to be able to read the works of Dostoyevsky in the original.[23] He has since described his spoken German as a "disaster area" and said that he is "a very clumsy reader and writer of Russian".[24]

Williams is also a poet and translator of poetry. His collection The Poems of Rowan Williams, published by Perpetua Press, was longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year award in 2004. Beside his own poems, which have a strong spiritual and landscape flavour, the collection contains several fluent translations from Welsh poets. He was criticised in the press for allegedly supporting a "pagan organisation", the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards, which promotes Welsh language and literature and uses druidic ceremonial but is actually not religious in nature.[25] His wife, Jane Williams, is a writer and lecturer in theology. They married on 4 July 1981[26] and have two children who were also state educated.[27]

In 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, a divorcee, in a civil ceremony. Afterwards, Williams, gave the couple a formal service of blessing.[28] In fact, the arrangements for the wedding and service were strongly supported[29] by the Archbishop "consistent with the Church of England guidelines concerning remarriage"[30] The "strongly-worded"[31] act of penitence by the couple, a confessional prayer written by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury to King Henry VIII.[32] was interpreted as a confession by the bride and groom of past sins, albeit without specific reference[31] and going "some way towards acknowledging concerns" over their past misdemeanours.[32]

Williams officiated at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on 29 April 2011.[33]

On 16 November 2011, Williams attended a special service at Westminster Abbey celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible in the presence of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Prince Charles, Patron of the King James Bible Trust.[34][35]

To mark the ending of his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, Williams presented a BBC television documentary about Canterbury Cathedral, in which he reflected upon his time in office. Entitled Goodbye to Canterbury, the programme was screened on 1 January 2013.[36]

2010 General Synod address

On 9 February 2010, in an address to the General Synod of the Church of England, Williams warned that damaging infighting over the ordination of women as bishops and gay priests could lead to a permanent split in the Anglican Communion. He stressed that he did not "want nor relish" the prospect of division and called on the Church of England and Anglicans worldwide to step back from a "betrayal" of God's mission and to put the work of Christ before schism. But he conceded that, unless Anglicans could find a way to live with their differences over women as bishops and homosexual ordination, the church would change shape and become a multi-tier communion of different levels – a schism in all but name.[37]

Williams also said that "it may be that the covenant creates a situation in which there are different levels of relationship between those claiming the name of Anglican. I don’t at all want or relish this, but suspect that, without a major change of heart all round, it may be an unavoidable aspect of limiting the damage we are already doing to ourselves." In such a structure, some churches would be given full membership of the Anglican Communion, while others had a lower-level form of membership, with no more than observer status on some issues. Williams also used his keynote address to issue a profound apology for the way that he had spoken about "exemplary and sacrificial" gay Anglican priests in the past. "There are ways of speaking about the question that seem to ignore these human realities or to undervalue them," he said. "I have been criticised for doing just this, and I am profoundly sorry for the carelessness that could give such an impression."[37]

Current academic career

On 17 January 2013, Williams was admitted as the 35th Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.[38] He was also made an honorary Professor of Contemporary Christian Thought by the University of Cambridge in 2017.[39][40] On 18 June 2013, the University of South Wales announced his appointment as its new chancellor, the ceremonial head of the university.[41]

In 2015, it was reported that Williams had written a play called Shakeshafte, about a meeting between William Shakespeare and Edmund Campion, a Jesuit priest and martyr. Williams suspects that Shakespeare was Catholic, though not a regular churchgoer.[42] The play took to the stage in July 2016, and was received favourably.[43]


Williams is patron of the Canterbury Open Centre run by Catching Lives, a local charity supporting the destitute.[44] He has also been patron of the Peace Mala Youth Project For World Peace since 2002, one of his last engagements as Archbishop of Wales being to lead the charity's launch ceremony.[45] In addition, he is president of WaveLength Charity, a UK-wide organisation which gives TVs and radios to isolated and vulnerable people; every Archbishop of Canterbury since the charity's inception in 1939 has actively participated in this role.

Williams is also patron of the T. S. Eliot Society[46] and delivered the annual T. S. Eliot Lecture in November 2013.

Williams was also patron of the Birmingham-based charity The Feast,[47] from 2010 until his retirement as Archbishop of Canterbury in December 2012. On 1 May 2013 he became chair of the board of trustees of Christian Aid.[48]

Together with Grey Ruthven, 2nd Earl of Gowrie and Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, Williams is a patron of the Wilfred Owen Association, formed in 1989 to commemorate the life and work of the renowned World War I poet Wilfred Owen.[49]


Williams, a scholar of the Church Fathers and a historian of Christian spirituality, wrote in 1983 that orthodoxy should be seen "as a tool rather than an end in itself..." It is not something which stands still. Thus "old styles come under increasing strain, new speech needs to be generated".[50] He sees orthodoxy as a number of "dialogues": a constant dialogue with Christ, crucified and risen; but also that of the community of faith with the world – "a risky enterprise", as he writes. "We ought to be puzzled", he says, "when the world is not challenged by the gospel." It may mean that Christians have not understood the kinds of bondage to which the gospel is addressed.[51] He has also written that "orthodoxy is inseparable from sacramental practice... The eucharist is the paradigm of that dialogue which is 'orthodoxy'".[52] This stance may help to explain both his social radicalism and his view of the importance of the Church, and thus of the holding together of the Anglican communion over matters such as homosexuality: his belief in the idea of the Church is profound.

John Shelby Spong once accused Williams of being a "neo-medievalist", preaching orthodoxy to the people in the pew but knowing in private that it is not true.[53] In an interview with the magazine Third Way, Williams responded:

I am genuinely a lot more conservative than he would like me to be. Take the Resurrection. I think he has said that of course I know what all the reputable scholars think on the subject and therefore when I talk about the risen body I must mean something other than the empty tomb. But I don't. I don't know how to persuade him, but I really don't.[54]

Although generally considered an Anglo-Catholic, Williams has broad sympathies. One of his first publications, in the largely evangelical Grove Books series, has the title Eucharistic Sacrifice: The Roots of a Metaphor.[55]

Moral theology

Williams' contributions to Anglican views of homosexuality were perceived as quite liberal before he became the Archbishop of Canterbury. These views are evident in a paper written by Williams called "The Body's Grace",[56] which he originally delivered as the 10th Michael Harding Memorial Address in 1989 to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, and which is now part of a series of essays collected in the book Theology and Sexuality (ed. Eugene Rogers, Blackwells 2002). At the Lambeth Conference in July 1998, then Bishop Rowan Williams of Monmouth abstained and did not vote in favour of the conservative resolution on human sexuality.[57] These actions, combined with his initial support for openly gay Canon Jeffrey John, gained him support among liberals and caused frustration for conservatives.

Social views

Rowan D. Williams WEF Davos 2010
Williams speaking at the 2010 World Economic Forum in Davos

His interest in and involvement with social issues is longstanding. While chaplain of Clare College, Cambridge, Williams took part in anti-nuclear demonstrations at United States bases. In 1985, he was arrested for singing psalms as part of a protest organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament at Lakenheath, an American air base in Suffolk; his fine was paid by his college. At this time he was a member of the left-wing Anglo-Catholic Jubilee Group headed by Kenneth Leech and he collaborated with Leech in a number of publications including the anthology of essays to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Oxford Movement entitled Essays Catholic and Radical in 1983.

He was in New York at the time of 11 September 2001 attacks, only yards from Ground Zero delivering a lecture; he subsequently wrote a short book, Writing in the Dust, offering reflections on the event. In reference to Al Qaeda, he said that terrorists "can have serious moral goals"[58] and that "Bombast about evil individuals doesn't help in understanding anything."[59] He subsequently worked with Muslim leaders in England and on the third anniversary of 9/11 spoke, by invitation, at the Al-Azhar University Institute in Cairo on the subject of the Trinity. He stated that the followers of the will of God should not be led into ways of violence. He contributed to the debate prior to the 2005 United Kingdom general election criticising assertions that immigration was a cause of crime. Williams has argued that the partial adoption of Islamic sharia law in the United Kingdom is "unavoidable" as a method of arbitration in such affairs as marriage, and should not be resisted.[60][61][62]

On 15 November 2008, Williams visited the Balaji Temple in Tividale, West Midlands, on a goodwill mission to represent the friendship between Christianity and Hinduism.[63]

Sharia law

Williams was the subject of a media and press furore in February 2008 following a lecture he gave to the Temple Foundation at the Royal Courts of Justice[64] on the subject of "Islam and English Law". He raised the question of conflicting loyalties which communities might have, cultural, religious and civic. He also argued that theology has a place in debates about the very nature of law "however hard our culture may try to keep it out" and noted that there is, in a "dominant human rights philosophy", a reluctance to acknowledge the liberty of conscientious objection. He spoke of "supplementary jurisdictions" to that of the civil law.[65] Noting the anxieties which the word sharia provoked in the West, he drew attention to the fact that there was a debate within Islam between what he called "primitivists" for whom, for instance, apostasy should still be punishable and those Muslims who argued that sharia was a developing system of Islamic jurisprudence and that such a view was no longer acceptable. He made comparisons with Orthodox Jewish practice (beth din) and with the recognition of the exercise of conscience of Christians.[64]

Williams's words were critically interpreted as proposing a parallel jurisdiction to the civil law for Muslims (Sharia) and were the subject of demands from elements of the press and media for his resignation.[66] He also attracted criticism from elements of the Anglican Communion.[67]

In response, Williams stated in a BBC interview that "certain provision[s] of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law; ... we already have in this country a number of situations in which the internal law of religious communities is recognised by the law of the land as justified conscientious objections in certain circumstances in providing certain kinds of social relations" and that "we have Orthodox Jewish courts operating in this country legally and in a regulated way because there are modes of dispute resolution and customary provisions which apply there in the light of Talmud."[68] Williams also denied accusations of proposing a parallel Islamic legal system within Britain.[67] Williams also said of sharia: "In some of the ways it has been codified and practised across the world, it has been appalling and applied to women in places like Saudi Arabia, it is grim."[69]

Williams's position received more support from the legal community, following a speech given on 4 July 2008 by Nicholas Phillips, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. He supported the idea that sharia could be reasonably employed as a basis for "mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution". He went further to defend the position Williams had taken earlier in the year, explaining that "It was not very radical to advocate embracing sharia law in the context of family disputes, for example, and our system already goes a long way towards accommodating the archbishop's suggestion."; and that "It is possible in this country for those who are entering into a contractual agreement to agree that the agreement shall be governed by a law other than English law."[70] However, some concerns have been raised over the question of how far "embracing" sharia law would be compliant with the UK's obligation under human rights law.[71]

In March 2014, the Law Society of England and Wales issued instructions on how to draft sharia-compliant wills for the network of sharia courts which has grown up in Islamic communities to deal with disputes between Muslim families, and so Williams' idea of sharia in the UK was, for a time, seen to bear fruit.[72] The instructions were withdrawn in November 2014.


In 2002, Williams delivered the Richard Dimbleby lecture and chose to talk about the problematic nature of the nation-state but also of its successors. He cited the "market state" as offering an inadequate vision of the way a state should operate, partly because it was liable to short-term and narrowed concerns (thus rendering it incapable of dealing with, for instance, issues relating to the degradation of the natural environment) and partly because a public arena which had become value-free was liable to disappear amidst the multitude of competing private interests. (He noted the same moral vacuum in British society after this visit to China in 2006.) He is not uncritical of communitarianism, but his reservations about consumerism have been a constant theme. These views have often been expressed in quite strong terms; for example, he once commented that "Every transaction in the developed economies of the West can be interpreted as an act of aggression against the economic losers in the worldwide game."[73]

Williams has supported the Robin Hood tax campaign since March 2010, re-affirming his support in a November 2011 article he published in the Financial Times.[74][75][76] He is also a vocal opponent of tax avoidance and a proponent of corporate social responsibility, arguing that "economic growth and prosperity are about serving the human good, not about serving private ends".[77]


The response of Williams to a controversy about the teaching of creationism in privately sponsored academies was that it should not be taught in schools as an alternative to evolution.[78] When asked if he was comfortable with the teaching of creationism, he said "I think creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories" and "My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it."[79]

Williams has maintained traditional support amongst Anglicans and their leaders for the teaching of evolution as fully compatible with Christianity. This support has dated at least back to Frederick Temple's tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury.[80]

Iraq War and possible attack on Syria or Iran

Williams was to repeat his opposition to American action in October 2002 when he signed a petition against the Iraq War as being against United Nations (UN) ethics and Christian teaching, and "lowering the threshold of war unacceptably". Again on 30 June 2004, together with the Archbishop of York, David Hope, and on behalf of all 114 Church of England bishops, he wrote to Tony Blair expressing deep concern about UK government policy and criticising the coalition troops' conduct in Iraq. The letter cited the abuse of Iraqi detainees, which was described as having been "deeply damaging" – and stated that the government's apparent double standards "diminish the credibility of western governments".[81][82] In December 2006 he expressed doubts in an interview on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 about whether he had done enough to oppose the war.[83]

On 5 October 2007, Williams visited Iraqi refugees in Syria. In a BBC interview after his trip he described advocates of a United States attack on Syria or Iran as "criminal, ignorant and potentially murderous".[84] He said, "When people talk about further destabilization of the region and you read some American political advisers speaking of action against Syria and Iran, I can only say that I regard that as criminal, ignorant and potentially murderous folly."[85] A few days earlier, the former US ambassador to the UN John R. Bolton had called for bombing of Iran at a fringe meeting of the Conservative Party conference.[86] In Williams's Humanitas Programme lecture at the University of Oxford in January 2014, he "characterized the impulse to intervene as a need to be seen to do something rather than nothing" and advocated for "a religiously motivated nonviolence which refuses to idolise human intervention in all circumstances."[87]

Opinion about hijab and terrorism

Williams objected to a proposed French law banning the wearing of the hijab, a traditional Islamic headscarf for women, in French schools. He said that the hijab and any other religious symbols should not be outlawed.[88]

Williams also spoke up against the scapegoating of Muslims in the aftermath of the 7 July 2005 London bombings on underground trains and a bus, which killed 52 and wounded about 700. The initial blame was placed on Al-Qaeda, but Muslims at large were targeted for reprisals: four mosques in England were assaulted and Muslims were verbally insulted in streets and their cars and houses were vandalised. Williams strongly condemned the terrorist attacks and stated that they could not be justified. However, he added that "any person can commit a crime in the name of religion and it is not particularly Islam to be blamed. Some persons committed deeds in the name of Islam but the deeds contradict Islamic belief and philosophy completely."[89]

Interview with Emel magazine

In November 2007, Williams gave an interview for Emel magazine, a British Muslim magazine.[62] Williams condemned the United States and certain Christian groups for their role in the Middle East, while his criticism of some trends within Islam went largely unreported. As reported by The Times, he was greatly critical of the United States, the Iraq War, and Christian Zionists, yet made "only mild criticisms of the Islamic world".[90] He claimed "the United States wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday". He compared Muslims in Britain to the Good Samaritans, praised Muslim salat ritual of five prayers a day, but said in Muslim nations, the "present political solutions aren't always very impressive".

Position on Freemasonry

In a leaked private letter, Williams said that he "had real misgivings about the compatibility of Masonry and Christian profession" and that while he was Bishop of Monmouth he had prevented the appointment of Freemasons to senior positions within his diocese. The leaking of this letter in 2003 caused a controversy, which he sought to defuse by apologising for the distress caused and stating that he did not question "the good faith and generosity of individual Freemasons", not least as his father had been a Freemason. However, he also reiterated his concern about Christian ministers adopting "a private system of profession and initiation, involving the taking of oaths of loyalty."[91]

Unity of the Anglican Communion

Williams visiting Pakistan in 2005

Williams became Archbishop of Canterbury at a particularly difficult time in the relations of the churches of the Anglican Communion. His predecessor, George Carey, had sought to keep the peace between the theologically conservative primates of the communion such as Peter Akinola of Nigeria and Drexel Gomez of the West Indies and liberals such as Frank Griswold, the then primate of the US Episcopal Church.

In 2003, in an attempt to encourage dialogue, Williams appointed Robin Eames, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, as chairman of the Lambeth Commission on Communion, to examine the challenges to the unity of the Anglican Communion, stemming from the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, and the blessing of same-sex unions in the Diocese of New Westminster. (Robinson was in a same-sex relationship.) The Windsor Report, as it was called, was published in October 2004. It recommended solidifying the connection between the churches of the communion by having each church ratify an "Anglican Covenant" that would commit them to consulting the wider communion when making major decisions. It also urged those who had contributed to disunity to express their regret.

In November 2005, following a meeting of Anglicans of the "global south" in Cairo at which Williams had addressed them in conciliatory terms, 12 primates who had been present sent him a letter sharply criticising his leadership which said that "We are troubled by your reluctance to use your moral authority to challenge the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada."[92] The letter acknowledged his eloquence but strongly criticised his reluctance to take sides in the communion's theological crisis and urged him to make explicit threats to those more liberal churches. Questions were later asked about the authority and provenance of the letter as two additional signatories' names had been added although they had left the meeting before it was produced. Subsequently, the Church of Nigeria appointed an American cleric to deal with relations between the United States and Nigerian churches outside the normal channels. Williams expressed his reservations about this to the General Synod of the Church of England.

Williams later established a working party to examine what a "covenant" between the provinces of the Anglican Communion would mean in line with the Windsor Report.

Climate and ecological crisis

In October 2018, he signed the call to action supporting Extinction Rebellion.[93]

Comments on the British government

On 8 June 2011, Williams said that the British government was committing Britain to "radical, long-term policies for which no-one voted". Writing in the New Statesman magazine, Williams raised concerns about the coalition's health, education and welfare reforms. He said there was "indignation" due to a lack of "proper public argument". He also said that the "Big Society" idea was viewed with "widespread suspicion", noting also that "we are still waiting for a full and robust account of what the Left would do differently and what a Left-inspired version of localism would look like". The article also said there was concern that the government would abandon its responsibility for tackling child poverty, illiteracy and poor access to the best schools. He also expressed concern about the "quiet resurgence of the seductive language of 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor" and the steady pressure to increase "what look like punitive responses to alleged abuses of the system".[94] In response, David Cameron said that he "profoundly disagreed" with Williams's claim that the government was forcing through "radical policies for which no one voted". Cameron said that the government was acting in a "good and moral" fashion and defended the "Big Society" and the coalition's deficit reduction, welfare and education plans. "I am absolutely convinced that our policies are about actually giving people a greater responsibility and greater chances in their life, and I will defend those very vigorously", he said. "By all means let us have a robust debate but I can tell you, it will always be a two-sided debate."[95]

On 26 November 2013, at Clare College, Cambridge, Williams gave the annual T. S. Eliot Lecture, with the title Eliot's Christian Society and the Current Political Crisis. In this, he recalled the poet's assertion that a competent agnostic would make a better prime minister than an incompetent Christian. "I don't know what he would make of our present prime minister", he said. "I have a suspicion that he might have approved of him. I don't find that a very comfortable thought." [96]

Comments on antisemitism

In August 2017, Williams condemned antisemitism and backed a petition to remove the works of David Irving and other Holocaust denial books from the University of Manchester.[97] In a letter to the university, Williams said "At a time when there is, nationally and internationally, a measurable rise in the expression of extremist views I believe this question needs urgent attention."[98]


Rowan williams garegin ii IMG 2506
Williams and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II at the Armenian Genocide monument in Yerevan for a torch lighting ceremony for the genocide victims in Darfur. The two men are standing on purple cloth.

Williams did his doctoral work on the mid-20th-century Russian Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky.[12] He is currently patron of the Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius, an ecumenical forum for Orthodox and Western (primarily Anglican) Christians. He has expressed his continuing sympathies with Orthodoxy in lectures and writings since that time.

Williams has written on the Spanish Catholic mystic Teresa of Ávila. On the death of Pope John Paul II, he accepted an invitation to attend his funeral, the first Archbishop of Canterbury to attend a funeral of a Pope since the break under King Henry VIII. He also attended the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI. During the Pope's state visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010, the two led a service together at Westminster Abbey.[99]

Williams said in April 2010 that the child sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Ireland had been a "colossal trauma" for Ireland in particular. His remarks were condemned by the second most senior Catholic bishop in Ireland, the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who said that "Those working for renewal in the Catholic Church in Ireland did not need this comment on this Easter weekend and do not deserve it."[100]

Honours and awards


  • The Theology of Vladimir Nikolaievich Lossky: An Exposition and Critique (1975 DPhil thesis)
  • The Wound of Knowledge (Darton, Longman and Todd, 1979)
  • Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel (Darton, Longman and Todd, 1982)
  • Eucharistic Sacrifice: The Roots of a Metaphor (Grove Books, 1982)
  • Essays Catholic and Radical ed. with K. Leech (Bowerdean, 1983)
  • The Truce of God (London: Fount, 1983)
  • Peacemaking Theology (1984)
  • Open to Judgement: Sermons and Addresses (1984)
  • Politics and Theological Identity (with David Nicholls) (Jubilee, 1984)
  • Faith in the University (1989)
  • Christianity and the Ideal of Detachment (1989)
  • Teresa of Avila (1991) ISBN 0-225-66579-4
  • Open to Judgement: Sermons and Addresses (Darton, Longman and Todd, 1994)
  • After Silent Centuries (1994)
  • "A Ray of Darkness" (1995)
  • On Christian Theology (2000)
  • Christ on Trial (2000) ISBN 0-00-710791-9
  • Arius: Heresy and Tradition (2nd ed., SCM Press, 2001) ISBN 0-334-02850-7
  • The Poems of Rowan Williams (2002)
  • Writing in the Dust: Reflections on 11 September and Its Aftermath (Hodder and Stoughton, 2002)
  • Ponder These Things: Praying With Icons of the Virgin (Canterbury Press, 2002)
  • Faith and Experience in Early Monasticism (2002)
  • Silence and Honey Cakes: The Wisdom of the Desert (2003) ISBN 0-7459-5170-8
  • Lost Icons: Essays on Cultural Bereavement (T & T Clark, 2003)
  • The Dwelling of the Light—Praying with Icons of Christ (Canterbury Press, 2003 )
  • Darkness Yielding, co-authored with Jim Cotter, Martyn Percy, Sylvia Sands and W. H. Vanstone (2004) ISBN 1-870652-36-3
  • Anglican Identities (2004) ISBN 1-56101-254-8
  • Why Study the Past? The Quest for the Historical Church (Eerdmans, 2005 )
  • Grace and Necessity: Reflections on Art and Love (2005)
  • Tokens of Trust. An introduction to Christian belief. (Canterbury Press, 2007 )
  • Wrestling with Angels: Conversations in Modern Theology, ed. Mike Higton (SCM Press, 2007) ISBN 0-334-04095-7
  • Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another (New Seeds, 2007)
  • Foreword to W. H. Auden in Great Poets of the 20th century series, The Guardian, 12 March 2008.
  • Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction (Baylor University Press, 2008); ISBN 1-84706-425-6
  • Faith in the Public Square (Bloomsbury, 2012)
  • The Lion's World - A Journey into the Heart of Narnia (SPCK, 2012); ISBN 978-0281068951
  • Meeting God in Mark (SPCK, 2014), reprinted as Meeting God in Mark: Reflections for the Season of Lent (Westminster John Knox Press, 2015) ISBN 978-0664260521
  • Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer (Eerdmans, 2014) ISBN 978-0802871978
  • Meeting God in Paul (SPCK, 2015) ISBN 978-0281073382


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External links

Church in Wales titles
Preceded by
Clifford Wright
Bishop of Monmouth
Succeeded by
Dominic Walker
Preceded by
Alwyn Rice Jones
Archbishop of Wales
Succeeded by
Barry Morgan
Church of England titles
Preceded by
George Carey
Archbishop of Canterbury
Succeeded by
Justin Welby
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Macquarrie
Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity
Succeeded by
John Webster
Preceded by
Duncan Robinson
Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge
Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.From the time of Augustine until the 16th century, the archbishops of Canterbury were in full communion with the See of Rome and usually received the pallium from the Pope. During the English Reformation, the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope. Thomas Cranmer became the first holder of the office following the English Reformation in 1533, while Reginald Pole was the last Roman Catholic in the position, serving from 1556 to 1558 during the Counter-Reformation. In the Middle Ages there was considerable variation in the methods of nomination of the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops. At various times the choice was made by the canons of Canterbury Cathedral, the Pope, or the King of England. Since the English Reformation, the Church of England has been more explicitly a state church and the choice is legally that of the Crown; today it is made by the reigning monarch on the advice of the British prime minister, who in turn receives a shortlist of two names from an ad hoc committee called the Crown Nominations Commission.

Archbishop of Wales

The post of Archbishop of Wales was created in 1920 when the Church in Wales was separated from the Church of England (of which the four Welsh dioceses had previously been part), and disestablished. The new Church became the Welsh province of the Anglican Communion.

Unlike the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, who are appointed by the Queen upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Wales is one of the six diocesan bishops of Wales, elected to hold this office in addition to his or her own diocese.

With the establishment of the new province, there was debate as to whether a specific see should be made the primatial see, or if another solution should be adopted. Precedents were sought in the early history of Christianity in Wales, with St David's having a debatable pre-eminence among the sees. A Roman Catholic Archbishopric of Cardiff had been created in 1916. Instead it was decided that one of the diocesan bishops should hold the title Archbishop of Wales in addition to his own see. The circulating character of the post was justified by Welsh geography and by the ecclesiastical precedent of the province of Numidia (of which St. Augustine of Hippo had been a bishop). The Archbishop is chosen in Llandrindod Wells, being a central point in the Country. The first Archbishop was chosen in the Old Parish Church in Llandrindod, but in more recent years, Holy Trinity Church has been used.

Successive archbishops have not only represented different geographical areas but also different tendencies within Anglicanism. In the mid-twentieth century linguistic issues were prominent in the successive incumbencies of Edwin Morris (who spoke no Welsh) and of Glyn Simon (who sympathised with advocates of the use of the Welsh language). Morris in some ways represented the broad churchmanship characteristic of the first occupant of the newly created post, A. G. Edwards, whereas Simon in many respects inherited the Anglo-Catholic outlook of the second archbishop, Charles Green (but without his authoritarianism). Towards the end of his period in office Gwilym Williams was one of three leading Welsh figures in a deputation to guarantee the status of the language which had been challenged by Margaret Thatcher. He was also decisive in the decision to ordain women priests. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, was Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Monmouth.

Williams was succeeded by Barry Morgan, who signed 'Barry Cambrensis'. Morgan oversaw the first consecration of a female bishop in the province, and was noted for his radicalism in other fields including same sex marriage and political development. At the time of his retirement in 2017, he was the senior archbishop in the Anglican Communion by length of service.The current archbishop is John Davies, the senior bishop in the Church in Wales, who was elected on 6 September 2017 after acting as archbishop following Morgan's retirement. He is the first Bishop of Swansea and Brecon to hold the post of archbishop. Edwards, the first archbishop, Bishop of St Asaph, was supported by the sole Bishop of Maenan; Barry Morgan was supported by an Assistant Bishop of Llandaff.

Baronius Press

Baronius Press is a traditional Catholic book publisher. It was founded in London, in 2002 by former St Austin Press editor Ashley Paver and other young Catholics who had previously worked in publishing and printing. The press takes its name from the Venerable Cardinal Cesare Baronius, a Neapolitan ecclesiastical historian who lived from 1538 to 1607. Its logo is a biretta, which together with a cassock forms the traditional image of a Catholic priest.The original objective of Baronius Press was to raise the quality of traditional Catholic books in order to make them more appealing to a wider audience. Baronius Press aimed to achieve this goal by retypesetting classic Catholic books (rather than republishing facsimiles) and binding them using high quality coverings such as leather. The advantages of retypesetting are clearer text and the ability to use modern layouts.The first publication of the Baronius Press was a new edition of the Douay–Rheims Bible. This was significant because no digitally typeset edition had been previously released. A pocket edition and a Psalms and New Testament edition followed, and, in 2007, a giant size format was added to the range. In 2008, their range of Bibles was expanded by a parallel Douay–Rheims / Clementine Vulgate, which included the appendix to the Old Testament which contained 3 & 4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh.

In 2004, Baronius Press published a new 1962 missal in cooperation with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, bearing an imprimatur from Bishop Fabian Wendelin Bruskewitz, for use at the traditional Roman mass. This was the first missal intended for use at the traditional mass with an imprimatur to be published in more than 35 years. A new edition coinciding with Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was named the Motu Proprio edition of the 1962 Missal. It was noted in several Catholic newspapers and journals that it is currently the only 1962 Missal being published with a valid imprimatur.

Later in 2004, Baronius released a series of leather bound Catholic classics with the aim of expanding its range. By the end of 2006, the company had over 40 titles in print with the release of a new paperback series called Christian Classics.

Baronius published a new edition of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary that contained all of the relevant Gregorian chants in October 2007. It was the first book to contain the complete music for the office. Websites complained that it contained several minor errors, and a revised edition correcting these was published at the end of 2008. In April 2012, its much anticipated Latin-English Roman Breviary was published, having been granted an imprimatur by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz. Both the Breviary and the Little Office published by Baronius conform to the editio typica of the Breviary of 1961.In October 2012, a complete edition of the Bible translated by Ronald Knox was published, with endorsements from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, and Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams.

Bishop of Bedford

The Bishop of Bedford is an episcopal title used by a Church of England suffragan bishop who, under the direction of the Diocesan Bishop of St Albans, oversees 150 parishes in Luton and Bedfordshire.The title, which takes its name after the town of Bedford, was created under the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534. The first three suffragan bishops were appointed for the Diocese of London, but through reorganisation within the Church of England in 1914, Bedford came under the Diocese of St Albans.Richard Atkinson, formerly Archdeacon of Leicester, was consecrated by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in St Paul's Cathedral on 17 May 2012.

Bishop of Horsham

The Bishop of Horsham is an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop (area bishop from 1984 to 2013) of the Church of England Diocese of Chichester, in the Province of Canterbury, England. The title takes its name after the market town of Horsham in West Sussex.

Horsham was one of the thirteen new post-English Reformation reformation bishoprics and dioceses proposed by King Henry VIII in an ecclesiastical revision proposal written in the king's own handwriting. The subsequent reallocation of former monastic incomes allowed for the eventual creation of only six of these thirteen dioceses. Nonetheless, an area of west Horsham became known as a 'Bishopric'. When new sees (both suffragan and diocesan) were established by the Church of England in the 20th century, the proposed Tudor dioceses which had not come into being were considered as episcopal titles. Horsham was one of those chosen (as was Leicester).

The current bishop is Mark Sowerby, who was consecrated a bishop on 25 July 2009 in Chichester Cathedral in a ceremony led by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. The bishops suffragan of Horsham were area bishops from when the Chichester area scheme was erected in 1984 until it was ended in 2013. The bishop oversees most of the parishes in West Sussex (apart from Chichester and some parishes to the west of Hove) and some parishes in East Sussex to the north of Brighton and east of East Grinstead, together with one parish in Kent.

Bishop of Lynn

The Bishop of Lynn is an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Norwich, in the Province of Canterbury, England. The title takes its name after the town of King's Lynn in Norfolk. The Bishop of Lynn has particular oversight of the Archdeaconry of Lynn.The current bishop is Jonathan Meyrick, who was consecrated by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, on 2 June and installed on 29 June 2011.

Bishop of Monmouth

The Bishop of Monmouth is the diocesan bishop of the Church in Wales Diocese of Monmouth.

The episcopal see covers the historic county of Monmouthshire with the bishop's seat located at the Cathedral Church of Saint Woolos in Newport, which had been elevated to that status in 1921.

The bishop's residence is Bishopstow, which is in central Newport.

The diocese is one of two new ones founded in 1921 when the Church in Wales became independent of the established Church of England. The current bishop is Richard Pain, who was previously the Archdeacon of Monmouth before being elected Bishop of Monmouth. The previous bishop was Dominic Walker, previously area Bishop of Reading in the Church of England and who retired on 30 June 2013. The Diocese of Monmouth has also produced a Welsh archbishop in Rowan Williams, who was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002 - the first Welsh bishop to hold that post since the English Reformation in the 16th century. He was also the Archbishop of Wales at the time of his appointment to Canterbury and was styled as "Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Monmouth".

Bishop of Peterborough

The Bishop of Peterborough is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Peterborough in the Province of Canterbury.

The diocese covers the counties of Northamptonshire (including the Soke of Peterborough) and Rutland. The see is in the City of Peterborough, where the bishop's seat (cathedra) is located at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Andrew. The bishop's residence is Bishop's Lodging, The Palace, Peterborough. The office has been in existence since the foundation of the diocese on 4 September 1541 under King Henry VIII.

The current Bishop of Peterborough is Donald Allister. He succeeded Ian Cundy, who died in post on 7 May 2009 (two months before his announced resignation). Cundy was one of the 26 diocesan bishops who sat in the House of Lords as Lords Spiritual.

Donald Allister, who was the Archdeacon of Chester in the Diocese of Chester from 2002 to 2010, was consecrated as a bishop on 25 March 2010 at St Paul's Cathedral by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and was installed at Peterborough Cathedral on 17 April 2010.As parts of the City of Peterborough are actually in the Diocese of Ely (those parishes south of the River Nene), the last Bishop of Peterborough was appointed as an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Ely with pastoral care for these parishes delegated to him by the Bishop of Ely.

Bishop of Sherborne

The Bishop of Sherborne is an episcopal title which takes its name from the market town of Sherborne in Dorset, England. The see of Sherborne was established in around 705 by St Aldhelm, the Abbot of Malmesbury. This see was the mother diocese of the greater part of southwestern England in Saxon times, but after the Norman Conquest was incorporated into the new Diocese of Salisbury. The title Bishop of Sherborne is now used by the Church of England for a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Salisbury.In 1925, the title Bishop of Sherborne was revived by the Church of England as a suffragan bishopric in the Diocese of Salisbury. From 1981 to 2009, the suffragan Bishop of Sherborne was responsible as area bishop for those parishes in Dorset and Devon belonging to the diocese. Since 2009, the suffragan Bishop of Sherborne, along with the suffragan Bishop of Ramsbury, has assisted the diocesan Bishop of Salisbury in overseeing the whole of the diocese.The post became vacant in 2015 on the resignation of Graham Kings, who had been consecrated in a special service at Westminster Abbey on 24 June 2009 by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury.The present incumbent is the Right Reverend Karen Gorham, the first woman to have held the position. She was born in 1964 and was educated at Mayflower High School, a state school in Billericay, Essex. She holds a B.A. degree from the University of Bristol and did her theological training for the ministry at Trinity College, Bristol. Before being ordained she held administrative posts

with the Business and Technology Education Council and with the Royal Society of Arts. From 1995 to 1999 she served as a curate in the parish of Northallerton with Kirby Sigston in the Diocese of York, and was ordained priest in 1996. In 1999 she became Priest-in-Charge of St Paul’s Church, Maidstone, in the Diocese of Canterbury. She was the Archdeacon of Buckingham from 2007 onwards, stepping down as archdeacon on 19 January 2016 in preparation for her consecration as bishop. She has served on the General Synod of the Church of England for twelve years.Karen Gorham was consecrated as bishop on 24 February 2016 at Westminster Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and officially welcomed to the diocese on 6 March 2016 at Sherborne Abbey. Welcoming her, the Very Revd June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, stated: "The last year has been a significant year for women in the ministry of the Church of England and this is a historic moment for the Diocese of Salisbury as its welcomes its first woman bishop."

Boxing at the 1992 Summer Olympics – Light flyweight

The men's light flyweight event was part of the boxing programme at the 1992 Summer Olympics. The weight class was the lightest contested, and allowed boxers of up to 48 kilograms to compete. The competition was held from 26 July to 8 August 1992. 30 boxers from 30 nations competed.

Fellow of the British Academy

Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. There are three kinds of fellowship

Fellows, for scholars resident in the United Kingdom

Corresponding Fellows, for scholars not resident in the UK

Honorary Fellows, an honorary academic titleThe award of fellowship is evidenced by published work and fellows may use the post-nominal letters: FBA. Examples of fellows include Mary Beard, Nicholas Stern, Baron Stern of Brentford, Jeremy Horder, Michael Lobban, M. R. James and Rowan Williams.

Geoffrey Paul

Geoffrey John Paul (4 March 1921 - 11 July 1983) was the eighth Bishop of Hull in the modern era from 1977 until 1981, who was then translated to Bradford where he served until his death two years later.Educated at Rutlish School, Queens' College, Cambridge and at King's College London, his first position after ordination was as a curate in Little Ilford. He was then a missionary priest at Palayamkottai and later in Kerala where he was a member of the faculty of the Kerala United Theological Seminary at Kannammoola, eventually becoming the principal from 1961 to 1965.On returning to England he was a residentiary canon at Bristol Cathedral and then Warden of Lee Abbey before his ordination to the episcopate as a suffragan bishop to the Archbishop of York. His daughter, the theologian Jane Paul, married the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

Liberal Anglo-Catholicism

The terms liberal Anglo-Catholicism and liberal Anglo-Catholic refer to people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm liberal Christian perspectives while maintaining the traditions culturally associated with Anglo-Catholicism. The word liberal in this context refers to both theological and social liberalism.The social liberalism of liberal Anglo-Catholics can be seen in an association with Christian socialism. With regard to Christian socialism, Frederick Denison Maurice in 1849 said, "I seriously believe that Christianity is the only foundation of Socialism, and that a true Socialism is the necessary result of a sound Christianity." Generally, liberal Anglo-Catholics will be social justice–minded. Jonathan Daniels, a seminarian of the Episcopal Church in the United States who died during the civil rights movement, is a modern martyr for liberal Anglo-Catholics.

Liberal Anglo-Catholics allow modern knowledge and research to inform their use of reason. Science and religion, for instance, are held to be legitimate and different methodologies of revealing God's truth. This also directly affects the liberal Anglo-Catholic's reading of scripture, ecclesiastical history, and general methodology of theology. A metaphor is that theology for liberal Anglo-Catholics is a "dance" that allows people to slowly grow in an understanding of God.In the UK the Affirming Catholicism movement is a home to many liberal Anglo-Catholics. Examples of liberal Anglo-Catholics include the former Archbishops of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Michael Ramsey. Westcott House, Cambridge, is a Church of England theological college in the tradition of liberal Anglo-Catholicism.

Moral theology of Rowan Williams

The moral theology of Rowan Williams has had a significant impact on the ongoing debate on Anglican views of homosexuality and has been cited both by opponents and defenders of the gay movement within the Anglican communion.

Richard Atkinson (bishop)

Richard William Bryant Atkinson, (born 17 December 1958) was the Archdeacon of Leicester between 2002 and 2012. He is the current suffragan Bishop of Bedford in the Diocese of St Albans, serving the churches of the Bedford Archdeaconry.

He succeeded Richard Inwood who retired to the Diocese of Derby.

Atkinson was consecrated by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in St Paul's Cathedral on Ascension Day 2012. A Service of Welcome into the Diocese took place at St Paul's Church, Bedford on 19 May 2012 at which Atkinson also preached his first sermon as a bishop.

Atkinson was educated at St Paul's School, London, Magdalene College, Cambridge and Ripon College Cuddesdon. He was ordained in 1985 and was a curate in Abingdon. After this he held incumbencies in Sheffield and Rotherham.Upon the announcement of his appointment in March 2012, Atkinson said: “I am looking forward enormously to getting to know the diversity and depth of the communities of Bedfordshire and Luton. I am passionate about the Church’s capacity to change all lives and communities for the better. I am enthusiastic to enable and equip the Church to reach out in love and service to our contemporary world, and committed to speaking up for the marginalised, poor and vulnerable. I pay tribute to the work being done all over the Diocese of St Albans, but especially in Bedfordshire and Luton”

The bishop participated in the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in the capital of Kazakhstan in 2013. The forum is widely recognized by the international community for its efforts in promoting religious tolerance and peace.

Robyn Léwis

Robyn Léwis (born October 1929) is a Welsh author, politician and former archdruid.

Born Robyn Lewis, he studied at Pwllheli Grammar School and University College of Wales, Aberystwyth before becoming a solicitor and barrister. He became active in the Labour Party and stood, unsuccessfully, in Denbigh at the 1955 general election.During the 1960s, Léwis left Labour and joined Plaid Cymru. He was elected to Lleyn Rural District Council, and stood for the party in Caernarfon at the 1970 general election, where he came second with more than 33% of the vote. He was subsequently elected as a Vice President of Plaid.In 1980, Léwis won the Prose Medal at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, and in 2002 he was the first Prose Medallist to become Archdruid, under the title "Robyn Llŷn". In this role, he inducted future Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as a Bard of the Gorsedd.Léwis resigned from Plaid in 2006, in protest at the acceptance of an OBE by Elinor Bennett, wife of the party leader.

Rowan Williams (boxer)

Rowan Anthony Williams (born 18 March 1968 in Birmingham) is a retired English boxer who competed in the flyweight division (– 48 kg). He represented Great Britain at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. There he was defeated in the quarterfinals by Roel Velasco of the Philippines.

St John the Baptist School, Aberdare

St. John Baptist Church in Wales High School, in Welsh Ysgol Uwchradd Yr Eglwys Yng Nghymru Ioan Feddydiwr, is a church secondary school located in Aberdare, Wales. The school serves children from all over Rhondda Cynon Taf and surrounding counties (such as Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly). .

In the summer of 2013, the school was announced as the best school in Rhondda Cynon Taf for 5 A*-C grades at GCSE.

Theos (think tank)

Theos (from the Greek: Θεός, theos, "God") is a religion and society think tank based in the United Kingdom which exists to undertake research and provide commentary on social and political arrangements. Theos aims to impact opinion around issues of faith and belief in society through research, publications, media engagement and events. Theos was launched in November 2006 with the support of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, and maintains an ecumenical position. Theos is based in central London.

Nick Spencer, Research Director at Theos has published a number of award winning books, including The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Shaped Our Values and Atheists: The Origin of the Species. His most recent book is The Political Samaritan: How Power Hijacked a Parable.

Coat of arms of Rowan Williams
Coat of Arms of Archbishop Rowan Williams
Williams' family arms as archbishop.
Per Pale Gules and Azure a Chevron Ermine between three Lions Passant Guardant armed within Roundels Or all counterchanged
Cultus Dei Sapientia Hominis
(Latin: "The worship of God is the wisdom of man")
Other elements
The exterior heraldic ornaments pertaining to a Church of England archbishop.

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