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Patiently Living with Difference: Rowan Williams’ Archiepiscopal Ecclesiology and the Proposed Anglican Covenant

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image of Ecclesiology

Rowan Williams, a theologian who has long stressed the importance of ecclesiology, served as Archbishop of Canterbury at a time when the Anglican Communion was consumed by an ecclesiological crisis. This paper explores the ecclesiology Williams has consistently articulated as archbishop and then holds it against Williams’ support of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant and finds a disjuncture. Williams’ ecclesiology is rooted in the nature of a globalized world, which tends towards exclusion. In this context, the church is to be the embodiment of God’s purpose of ‘unrestricted community.’ In order to do so, the church must share a common language and be rooted in trust-full relations that can only develop over time. As the Covenant struggles to gain approval among Anglicans, it seems an apt time to return to Williams’ ecclesiology and patiently work towards understanding the different Anglican other.

Affiliations: 1: Emmanuel College, Cambridge CB2 3AP, UK,


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