Archbishop Rowan Williams is held in high affection across the Anglican Communion and, on behalf of the Church of Ireland, I offer him prayerful good wishes as he decides to step down from the hugely demanding role as Archbishop of Canterbury to take up his new responsibilities ”“ and enter a new phase of his life ”“ as Master of Magdelene College, Cambridge at the end of this year. While the Churches of the Anglican Communion will feel a considerable sense of loss when he departs, as an intellectual, a Christian thinker and a poet, he will bring a rich offering of gifts to this academic position. Happily, in returning to the academic sphere, Archbishop Rowan will continue to be able to contribute extensively to the intellectual life of the Communion for years to come.
The Anglican Communion has faced many deep and complex challenges over the past number of years and Rowan has sought to hold people together in unity consistently, doubtless at some real personal cost. He has brought depth of thinking, humility and sincerity to his leadership which we have valued immensely.