frgavin on September 11th, 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury is planning to resign next year, nearly a decade before he is due to step down, it can be revealed. 

Jonathan Wynne-Jones in The Telegraph

Dr Rowan Williams is understood to have told friends he is ready to quit the highest office in the Church of England to pursue a life in academia.

The news will trigger intense plotting behind the scenes over who should succeed the 61-year-old archbishop, who is not required to retire until he is 70.

Bishops have privately been arguing for Dr Williams to stand down, with the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, telling clergy he should give someone else a chance after nearly ten years in the post.

Lambeth Palace would not be drawn into confirming or denying whether the archbishop will be leaving next year.
A spokesman would only say: “We would never comment on this matter.”

Sources close to the archbishop say he will leave after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next June and having seen the Church finally pass legislation to allow women to become bishops.

It is understood that Trinity College, Cambridge, is preparing to create a professorship for Dr Williams, who studied theology and was a chaplain at the university.

After presiding over one of the most turbulent periods in the Church’s history, the archbishop has told friends he would like to give his successor adequate time to prepare for the next Lambeth Conference – the summit of Anglican bishops held once every decade.

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