Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the worldwide Anglican Communion, has announced he will be stepping down from the position in December this year.

According to the BBC news site, Dr Williams posted a statement on his webpage stating that serving as Archbishop of Canterbury had been an "immense privilege", and that the decision to retire was a difficult one because there was still "much to do".

Appointed the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, Dr Williams has confronted growing tensions within the Anglican Communion over the ordination of women and openly gay clergy.  He also generated controversy in 2008 by suggesting that adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK was an inevitability.

Queen Elizabeth II, as head of the Church of England, has been advised of Dr Williams' decision; a statement released by the Crown Appointments Commission said that consideration of Dr Williams' successor would occur "in due course".

The full BBC article can be found here.
 


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