The symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has announced he is stepping down, the Guardian reports:
Williams, 61, will leave his church post at the end of December in time to start his new role next January. His time in office has been marked by a slowly growing schism in the worldwide Anglican church which he has failed to heal. Throughout his time in office he has been attacked by conservatives for his liberal views on homosexuality and by liberals for failing to live up to these principles.
The bookies' favourite to succeed him is the archbishop of York, John Sentamu.
Said Williams: "I would like the successor that God would like. I think that it is a job of immense demands and I would hope that my successor has the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros, really. But he will, I think, have to look with positive, hopeful eyes on a church which, for all its problems, is still for so many people, a place to which they resort in times of need and crisis, a place to which they look for inspiration. I think the Church of England is a great treasure. I wish my successor well in the stewardship of it."
Sentamu opposes same-sex marriage. He said, recently:
"We supported civil partnerships because we believe that friendships are good for everybody. If you genuinely would like the registration of civil partnerships to happen in a more general way, most people will say they can see the drift. But if you begin to call those marriage, you're trying to change the English language. That does not mean you diminish, condemn, criticise, patronise any same-sex relationships because that is not what the debate is about."