Sunday, March 5, 2006

Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams (official website, BBC profile) is archbishop of Canterbury and "leader" of the worldwide Anglican communion.

There are currently strong issues pulling this communion apart, including homosexuality and the appointment of female bishops. In an interview for BBC's Heaven and Earth programme today, Dr Williams said that the church faces a fundamental rupture.

Voices on both sides have called for Dr Williams to make a strong statement to resolve these issues - preferably supporting their own position. Making such a statement would be regarded (by them) as "strong leadership".

Dr Williams clearly takes a different view of what counts as leadership. He has often spoken of the role of the shepherd, and apparently sees unity as equivalent to truth. So far he has succeeded in holding the Anglican church together. But if schism is inevitable, then the role of the leadership perhaps shifts from maintaining unity towards creating some looser structure that will continue to serve the same purpose. Leadership AND change.

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