November 6: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ Visit (2016)

On All Saints Sunday, November 6, 2016, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was the guest preacher at Epiphany’s 8:00 and 11:00am liturgies. Williams came at the invitation of interim rector Geoffrey Hoare, who had been a student of Williams. Almost an hundred years earlier, the Archbishop of York, the other archbishop of the Church of England, visited Epiphany during World War I. Williams was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he held from December 2002 to December 2012. He was previously the Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales, making him the first Archbishop of Canterbury in modern times not to be appointed from within the Church of England. Williams spent much of his earlier career as an academic at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford successively.

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. Williams worked to keep all sides talking to one another. 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, the failure to secure a sufficient majority for a measure to allow the appointment of women as bishops in the Church of England. Williams stood down as Archbishop of Canterbury on December 31, 2012 to take up the position of Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University. Later in 2013 he was appointed Chancellor of the University of South Wales. On December 26, 2012, 10 Downing Street announced Williams’ elevation to the peerage as a Life Baron, so that he could continue to speak in the Upper House of Parliament.

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