Speculation that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who is considered the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, will be resigning next year continues after a report from a U.K. newspaper Sunday.
Williams, 61, is reported to have first considered resignation at a summit of Anglican bishops held in 2008, when the conference was plagued by boycotts, divisions over homosexual clergy, and challenges to the archbishop’s authority, according to The Telegraph.
Williams, who has tried to keep the Anglican community together despite a major split between leaders and churches over the ordination of women and gay bishops, may accept a senior position at Cambridge University, reports said.
The archbishop will leave after the Queen's Diamond Jubilee next June and “having seen the Church finally pass legislation to allow women to become bishops,” sources close to Williams said, according to The Telegraph.
The newspaper reports that Trinity College, Cambridge, is developing a professorship for Williams, who studied theology and was a chaplain at the university.
Williams has increasingly interjected his political views into the public square. In June, he rebuked the British coalition government, saying that it is committing Britain to “radical, long-term policies for which no one voted.” As a guest editorial writer for the New Statesman magazine, Williams stated there was “indignation” at the lack of “proper public argument” on issues of health, education and welfare reforms.
His tenure as the Archbishop of Canterbury has been marred by one of the most turbulent periods in Anglican Communion history. According to news reports, Williams has told friends he would like to give his successor adequate time to prepare for the next summit, known as the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops held once every decade.
Williams conducted the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in London in April. He succeeded George Carey as Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002. Before his career with the church, he taught theology at Cambridge and Oxford universities.
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches. No official statement regarding Williams has come from the Church of England, which is considered the global “mother church,” but has no outside jurisdiction.