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Issue 2 number 7 May 2016

‘The Triumph of Imagination’ Bishop Rowan Williams:

The Revd Dr Charles Miller, Team Rector W The Editors

Andrew Colborne Alexandra Green Louise Heffernan Sheila Hills

Silvia Joinson David Pope

Carol Worthington

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hen the Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales was appointed the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury in 2003 that was how many in and around the Church of England saw the choice: a triumph of imagination. I was the

rector of a once-famous Manhattan parish at the time and I too was thrilled by the ap- pointment. John Paul II writing in the parish mag- the possibilities of mutual ing with two such leaders spective communions. The churches have changed initial years of the 21st hard to see whether there lasting legacy to Bp Ro- counters with that pope will tell. God gives his opportunities, but God

we do with them. In his short and readable

An Introduction (2003) speakers at ‘The Hope described Rowan Wil- tegrity, intensity, and pri-

was still pope, and I recall azine at the time about sharing and understand- at the heads of their re- atmospheres of the two significantly since the century, so that it may be will indeed be an overt wan’s ecumenical en- and his successors. Time church and his people does not manipulate what

book, Rowan Williams: Rupert Shortt (one of the within Us’ event in May) liams as a mixture of in- vacy. That’s true, but I

would want to qualify that description. Bp Rowan’s integrity is part of his deep com- mitment to Christian spiritual life, and the view that truth and goodness go hand-in- hand. Bp Rowan’s writing on Christian spiritual experience, Silence and Honey Cakes: The Wisdom of the Desert (2003), for instance, points to the importance he gives to intentional spiritual practice as a means to the wholeness we mean by integri- ty.

Is Bp Rowan intense? In a way, yes, in that he takes human life and experience very seriously; he seems to let little—and certainly not ideas, assumptions or prejudices— go unnoticed or unexamined. A one-time colleague described Rowan Williams as pos- sessing a finely balanced power to analyse and synthesise, and I think that’s right. The result is that a conversation with Bp Rowan will usually leave you with the sense of having moved on somehow.

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