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Rowan Williams, a Mumbles Boy

From: All Saints Parish Magazine, Volume 103 Number 8 AUGUST 2002

THE VICAR WRITES

Dear Friends,

The appointment of Dr. Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury has been the cause of much celebration at All Saints' and Norton Mission, and rightly so. As a Parish we can feel honoured that one of our own sons has been chosen to lead the seventy million strong world-wide Anglican Church family, a family of which we are part.

Dr. Wiiliams bas been a good friend to our Parish and has served the Church in Wales as Bishop of Monmouth since 1991 and as Archbishop from 1999. He has done much to promote Wales and the Church here to the wider world.

The official announcement of Archbishop Rowans appointment came after months of intense and sometimes frenzied media speculation. During this time our Parish has tried to keep a dignified distance from the glare of the media spotlight We were particularly concerned that our much loved Archbishop and his family were being put under intolerable pressure from those who seemed to know more about their future than they themselves knew. As the Province of Canterbury prepares to welcome its new Archbishop it may well be that some lessons need to be learned about the nature of the appointments system. I can't help but think that if the Church of England had been a little more autonomous from the State and its politicians, we wouldn't have experienced the leaks, the spin and the ensuing media circus we have seen over the past months.

The media is, of course, an ever present and increasingly powerful force in our age of mass communication. Control even one small arm of it and you have the potential to exert enormous influence on so many lives. Sometimes this can be for the good, but increasingly, it is often for the bad. Generally of late, I sense that the media has been no friend to the Church. Though much of the bad publicity we have endured has been of our own making, I very much feel that there is a growing and underlying anti Church, anti establishment agenda in many a news-room.

With this in mind, I can't help thinking that Archbishop Rowan was the preferred choice of the news men and women for all the wrong reasons. I'm sure that they we!come his appointment as they had campaigned for him, in the hope that he will prove controversial and news worthy to them in the future a ‘turbulent Archbishop' at Lambeth Palace. Those of us who know Archbishop Rowan and who have listened to him and actually read what he has to say, know that the media men and women will be somewhat disappointed. For what the Church of England will gain, at Wales‘ loss, will be a man of great intellectual and spiritual integrity, a holy man, a man of faith and prayer, and an Archbishop who will dare to challenge the Church to reach out to contemporary culture rather than implode in on itself. An Archbishop who might well help the Church in Britain to grow once more and to be an instrument of God's redeeming and liberating love in Christ. For this, as well as for him being an All Saints' boy, we rejoice and celebrate.

 

God our Father, look down in mercy on your servant Rowan our Archbishop, to whom you have given charge over our Church; bless his family, and so direct and defend him by your grace that he may, by word and good example, lead the flock committed to his care in the ways of truth and love, holiness, service and peace; through him who is the Good Shepherd of us all, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

with every blessing,

Keith

 

Rowan Williams, a Mumbles Boy

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